Pakistan Poll

In a sign of electoral health, new polls released show that Pakistanis favor a free judiciary, a free press, and free elections. They don’t like President Pervez Musharraf in his dual role, and he polls lower than Bin Laden.

Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif both polled pretty well, with Bhutto at 53% and Nawaz at 47%. While Nawaz is back in exile, Bhutto is slated to return to Pakistan any day now.

Read more at Dawn.

Meanwhile in the frontiers the standoff between the Army and the Taliban / Al Qaeda forces appears to be heating up. The army has attacked in Northwest Frontier Province (Waziristan) with gunships, infantry, and artillery killing 30-40 Taliban.

“The ISPR’s claim is totally baseless and Mujahideen are safe,” said Ahmadullah Ahmadi who identified himself as spokesman for militant commander Hafiz Gul Buhadur based in Miramshah.

Mr Ahmadi told Dawn that militants had kidnapped 11 FC men from the Bannu Frontier Region. Gul Buhadur has influence in Miramshah and has been leading a strong corps of militants in the area.

Sources said a group of militants launched an offensive against security forces in Shawal region which lies in both North and South Waziristan Agencies. The first attack was carried out in Pesh Ziarat area and security forces called in Cobra helicopters from Miramshah.

Officials said the helicopters targeted positions in Shawal area and about 40 militants were killed. Combat helicopters shuttled between Shawal and Miramshah

Read More at Dawn.