Hospitals of Death; Pakistan Update

Jo nar totâ mârkar khâve per ke heth,
Kuchh sansâ man na dhare, woh hogâ râjâ jeth.
Jo mainâ ko mâr khâ, man men rakhe dhîr;
Kuchh chintâ man na kare, woh sadâ rahegâ wazîr.

Who kills a parrot and eats him under a tree,
Should have no doubt in his mind, he will be a great king.
Who kills and eats a starling, let him be patient:
Let him not be troubled in his mind, he will be minister for life.

As rumors run in rampant circles regarding Nawaz’s return, the deal with Bhutto, the uniform, and what the Attorney General or the Courts might do, in the frontier the hills echo with sounds of rockets, bombs, and shots. 

Bhutto and Nawaz race to feast on the starling while Mehsud and Zawahiri seek to dine on the parrot. High above all Musharraf still tap-dances across the razor wire between extremism and enlightened moderation.

First however there’s been another tragic clash between student groups at the teaching hospitals, one IJI student was shot in the melee of iron rods and stones with the PSA students in Karachi. Police.

From the Daily Times:

KARACHI: Hundreds of patients were denied access to the four major hospitals on Rafiqui Shaheed Road that was cordoned off from both ends by the Rangers and police after a first-year medical student was shot dead Saturday morning.

Five other students were injured in clashes between the Punjabi Students Association (PSA) and Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT), two rival student organisations. Just ten days earlier another student was beaten to death in a similar outburst at the hospital.

The shooting took place at about 10:00 a.m. and according to the hospital administration, IJT activist Farhan Butt was shot in the chest. He hailed from Jhelum, Punjab, and was a School of Physiotherapy student.

The colleges have been closed for three days by government order to prevent more violence.

An important Baloch nationalist leader surrendered to the government along with 20 followers. See Dawn.

Meanwhile Mehsud seems bent on head-on confrontation with the Army as his forces kidnapped four more soldiers including a Colonel in Wana:

WANA: Suspected militants have kidnapped a senior Pakistani army officer and three others in a restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan, officials said on Saturday. Colonel Shahid Kiyani of Bajaur Scouts, two soldiers and an administration official were seized at gunpoint in the town of Ladha in South Waziristan late on Friday. “

They were on their way to a seminary to meet some religious leaders when gunmen in two vehicles intercepted them,” local administration chief Rasool Khan told AFP. He said the local authorities and tribal elders were trying to secure the release of the kidnapped officials through talks with the leaders of the Mehsud tribe.

Another article at the Pakistan Observer.

UPDATE: Reuters reports on a VBIED suicide bomber who killed four in Swat.

The violence in the frontiers continues to heat up, this article in Dawn is a good round-up of the events. More threatening letters have gone out, and a bomb was defused, while Lal Masjid once more activates a website:

Threatening letters from an unidentified source have asked video shops owners in Matta tehsil and other areas to pack up their business in 15 days, otherwise their shops will be blown up. Similar letters have been issued to vehicle owners carrying girls to educational institutions, asking them to install purdahs (curtain) on their vehicles; females have been asked to wear a veil and non-governmental organisations to stop working in the area. Swat District Police officer Mohammad Iqbal told Daily Times that police were investigating who sent these letters. Former federal minister and Awami National Party leader Mohammad Afzal Khan Lala said such letters are not new, as southern districts and other areas of the NWFP had received similar letters. He said the provincial government should use all its resources and secret agencies to track these elements. Meanwhile, police defused a bomb planted in Saidu Sharif courts. The DPO said the bomb disposal squad had defused a small remote-controlled bomb.

Against this backdrop President Pervez Musharraf appears willing to remove the uniform for the general elections, but not until after the current assembly re-elects him. [ed: That seems a good compromise to ensure stability until the real elections are held.] He also states that the Army will be pulled out of the frontier and be replaced with 100% Frontier Corps personell who are native to the area and who understand and deal with the tribal mores better than the army. That is already underway; and might prove a good move if the forces are equal. This does take them from Baloch frontiers, and off the border however.

Pakistan also tested another nuclear-capable cruise missile this week, the new variant appears shorter range than the previous test.