[Economist] THE prognoses for Pakistan’s future grow grimmer by the day. It is, said President Asif Zardari this week, “fighting a battle for its own survival”. In the latest violence 24 people were killed on April 5th in a suicide-bomb attack, calculated to foment sectarian hostility, on a Shia mosque in Chakwal in Punjab province. The day before, eight troops were killed in a similar attack in the capital, Islamabad, and a suicide-bomber drove a vehicle into a group of civilians in the tribal area of North Waziristan, killing at least eight.
Responsibility for the attacks in Chakwal and Islamabad was claimed by the Fedayeen al-Islam, a group led by Hakimullah Mehsud, a powerful deputy to Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban. The spate of attacks came a week after Baitullah Mehsud orchestrated a suicidal commando attack on a police training school in Lahore, in which eight police were killed and over 90 wounded.