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24 killed in suicide attacks

LAHORE, Pakistan — The spread of terrorism across Pakistan on Tuesday from its unruly tribal regions to the cultural capital of Lahore has added to pressure to rethink its U.S.-allied president's approach to countering al-Qaida and the Taliban as a new government prepares to take office.

After two deadly suicide bombings in this normally peaceful eastern city, pressure grew for more dialogue with militants and less punitive military action, which President Pervez Musharraf's opponents say has only fueled the violence.

At least 21 people were killed and more than 200 wounded Tuesday when a massive explosion ripped through a police headquarters. A second explosion 15 minutes later at a business near a house belonging to Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, killed two children and the wife of a gardener.

Musharraf quickly condemned the "savage" bombings and said in a statement the government would continue to fight terrorism "with full force."

The winners of last month's elections accused the former army strongman of destabilizing the country with military operations against militants near the Afghan border and suggested rogue forces were trying to undermine Pakistan's return to democracy.

"He has carried out indiscriminate operations in tribal areas that have opened up new fault lines in Pakistani society," said Ahsan Iqbal, a spokesman for a party set to partner with Bhutto's in the new government. "Unless he resigns, there will be a cause for all these groups to carry on these activities."

. Fast facts

Pakistan attacks

A look at earlier suicide bombings in Pakistan since Feb. 18 elections:

March 4: Two suicide bombers kill four employees at navy training college in Lahore.

March 2: Suicide bomber attacks tribesmen discussing resistance to al-Qaida and Taliban in Darra Adam Khel, killing at least 40.

March 1: Suicide bomber on foot attacks vehicle carrying security forces in Bajur tribal area bordering Afghanistan, killing one person and wounding 19.

Feb. 29: Suicide bomber strikes funeral of slain police officer in Mingora town in Swat Valley, killing more than 40 people and injuring at least 60.

Feb. 25: Suicide bomber hits car carrying Pakistani army's surgeon general along busy road south of capital, killing him and at least seven others.

24 killed in suicide attacks 03/12/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:36am]
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