QUETTA, Pakistan - Gunmen killed three people in an attack yesterday on a party office of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, police said, the first reported deaths apparently linked to Pakistan's current election campaign.
The incident occurred in Naseerabad, about 150 miles east of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, said Wajid Akbar, the district police chief. He said police had no immediate information about the motive for the attack or who was behind it. However, killings and violence have been common in elections in Pakistan, where Bhutto, a former prime minister, recently began campaigning for the Jan. 8 parliamentary election.
Beyond the campaign, Pakistan, which has been a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism, has been beleaguered by suicide and other attacks as well as fighting between Islamic militants and armed forces. In October, suicide bombers struck at a parade celebrating Bhutto's return from exile, killing more than 140 people in Karachi.
Pakistan's political turmoil deepened Nov. 3, when President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule and fired Supreme Court justices who were preparing to rule on the validity of his October reelection.
Under pressure from the United States and domestic opposition parties, Musharraf promised to lift the emergency by Dec. 16, but Attorney General Malik Mohammed Qayyum said Friday that it would end this coming Saturday, although he said the dismissed judges would not be restored to their positions.