Pakistan Update: Maulana Earthquake on the Run

swat-blast.jpgA suicide bomb blast in Swat has killed 18 Frontier Corps soldiers, an unknown number of civilians, and injured scores more. (Some stories report 30 total deaths, some 20.) This comes as 2,000 Pakistan army troops have taken the high ground on the hills surrounding Swat.

The radical FM radio murder-mullah from the region, Fazlullah, aka “Maulana Earthquake” is in hiding and on the run. His bands of followers from TNSM and the new “eagle force”, are still in the area however, and it’s highly likely that more attacks on the army will come. Maulana earthquake gets his nickname from the preaching he does — he promises his listeners that the region will have even more severe earthquakes than the disastrous ones of 2005 if they do not do as he dictates.

During Bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora TNSM provided a shield of 10,000 “canon-fodder” madrassah students while UBL and his foreign contingent of troops ran away via a different route.

On the political front the Supreme Court is still reviewing the challenges to Musharraf’s presidency, and one statement made by a justice should raise eyebrows — he said in effect that Pakistan was still under the 1973 Constitution, and that oaths taken interim would count. Later that was ameliorated a bit by another justice stating that it would remain to be determined if one of Musharraf’s terms counted since it was not a full term.

Musharraf is reassuring his party, PML-Q, that he is still very much with them and that he won’t be making a jump over to Benazir Bhutto’s party, the PPP. He also stated that Nawaz would not be allowed to return to Pakistan until after the election.

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