Secularists Face Tests In Northwest Pakistan

March 1, 2008

Author: Candace Rondeaux/Imtiaz Ali

Source: Washington Post

Parliamentary elections have come and gone in this village of mud-brick homes, but signs of unrest still abound. In the council hall, the walls have been stained by blood, evidence of a preelection bombing at a political rally. In the village cemetery, the graves of more than two dozen people killed in the blast appear freshly dug.

The target of the Feb. 8 bombing was a secular party, one of two that swept the elections several days later. Since then, the extremists believed to have been behind the attack have not struck again in Nawagai. But few villagers in this tightly knit community -- located in the heart of Pakistan's turbulent North-West Frontier Province -- believe they have seen the last of the violence.