ISLAMABAD -- Islamic militants clad head-to-toe in women's burqas attempted to attack an oil-storage facility in Karachi, raising fears that insurgents are fleeing northwestern Pakistan and infiltrating the nation's main business hub.
Three gunmen disguised as women tried to enter the high-security terminal used by oil companies late Monday night, Waseem Ahmed, the city police chief, told Pakistani television on Tuesday. Police say they suspect the assailants disguised themselves as women to try to slip past security checkpoints.
Pakistani police officers examined weapons and ammunition left behind by attackers in Karachi, Pakistan, on Tuesday.
When stopped by security guards, the militants opened fire, killing one guard. The assailants fled during a gun battle, leaving behind the burqas, purses and hand grenades.
"We suspect they wanted to carry out a big terrorist attack which our prompt police action thwarted," said Mr. Ahmed in an interview with Geo TV Pakistan.
Pakistan imports foreign oil through the Karachi port, and stores it there before transporting it throughout the country. An attack on the port facility could have threatened the fuel supply for the country's industry and transport, just as Pakistan's economy is struggling to recover from the global downturn and security woes at home.
Later Tuesday, police arrested four men suspected of involvement in the attack. During a raid on a house in Karachi, where the arrests took place, police found additional burqas, women's handbags and weapons, Mr. Ahmed said in the television interview.
Police say the arrested men are suspected of having links to the militant group led by Baitullah Mehsud, the Taliban leader who was killed last month in a U.S. missile attack in South Waziristan. A large number of militants from Waziristan and other areas fleeing army attacks have been taking sanctuary in Karachi -- the capital of Sindh province -- according to Zulfikar Mirza, the Sindh provincial home minister.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
The Trouble with Burqas
As well as the obvious feminist complaints, burqas provide cover for male criminals with weapons. As the Wall Street Journal reports on recent events in Pakistan: