View Full Version : Pakistan's prime minister escapes assassination attempt:

09-03-2008, 10:36 PM
ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani escaped an apparent assassination attempt on Wednesday when his car was struck by two bullets fired by unknown assailants, officials said.

Security officials later said the prime minister was not in the car at the time of the attack, contradicting Gilani's spokesman.

"There was firing near the motorcade of the prime minister. Two bullets hit the window glass of the bullet-proof car in which the prime minister was travelling," Gilani's spokesman Zahid Bashir told AFP.

"By the grace of Allah the prime minister is safe," he added.

The attack happened in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, and came three days before Pakistan's presidential election Saturday.

Television pictures showed shattered glass in the driver's window of a black Mercedes which forms part of the prime ministerial motorcade.

However security officials said the motorcade was on its way to meet Gilani at Rawalpindi airport at the time of the attack.

"The prime minister and his staff were not in the car," interior secretary Kamal Shah told AFP.

Gilani has been Pakistan's prime minister since March having taken office after his Pakistan People's Party (PPP) won national elections the previous month.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman told state television: "The convoy was going to receive the prime minister. He reached Islamabad from an alternate route. Those who had designs, have failed."