Two weeks ahead of elections, Islamic extremism has become a central issue in the intensifying three-way race for control of Pakistan's parliament, AFP reports. Benazir Bhutto yesterday took her campaign to Peshawar, the heart of the troubled northwest, and bashed Pervez Musharraf's handling of the terrorist threat. Militants have promised to disrupt the January 8 polling.
Although Musharraf is a key US ally, Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif charge he has done little to quell the rising wave of suicide attacks, which were once rare in Pakistan. Bhutto's rally in Peshawar, near the Afghan border, drew extreme security. A bomb ripped through a cable TV station in the city ahead of her arrival, the Times of India reports.