ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A bomber blew himself up about a quarter-mile from President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s office Tuesday, killing seven people and deepening Pakistan’s insecurity ahead of crucial elections.
Officials said the attacker detonated his explosives among police at a checkpoint in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, just south of the capital, Islamabad.
Musharraf was safely inside Army House, about a quarter-mile away, where the blast was clearly heard, said presidential spokesman Rashid Qureshi. The checkpoint guards a road leading to the president’s compound and the residences of several top generals.
Police said three of their officers and four civilians were killed, along with the lone assailant. Fourteen policemen and four civilians were wounded.
There was no claim of responsibility, and Qureshi would not speculate on who might be to blame.
Pakistan has been rocked by a string of suicide bombings mostly blamed on Islamic extremists, including the bombing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming parade. The Oct. 18 blast killed more than 140 people in the southern port of Karachi.
Bhutto vowed Tuesday to continue campaigning, saying she would visit Rawalpindi on Nov. 9 despite the violence. She said, however, that she would no longer hold processions like the one that was attacked Oct. 18.