Army Surgeon General Killed in Rawalpindi Suicide Blast

The cease fire is apparently over. Earlier today, a suicide bomber attacked the vehicle of Lt. Gen. Mushtaq Ahmad Baig, the surgeon general of the Pakistani Army, killing him and eight others–including five civilians. There is no reason to believe he was personally targeted by the bomber. Inter-Services Public Relations spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said that the attacker, disguised as a beggar, was “just waiting for a senior army officer” and detonated himself at a traffic signal “when he saw a staff car with the signature of a senior officer.”

Lt. Gen. Baig headed the Army Medical Corps and likely lacked the security detail provisioned to officers of similar rank within the army’s mainstream. He was apparently traveling in a black Toyota Corolla with a Pakistan Army license plate (see left). Previous attacks on the military in Rawalpindi have focused on softer, more vulnerable targets, such as employee buses. As I have written earlier, the army needs to enact more comprehensive security measures. This is essential toward renewing morale within the institution and denying the militants tactical victories.

Testimonials from those who knew the late Lt. Gen Baig center on his humility, religious piety, and professional excellence as a physician.

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Arif Rafiq, a Washington, DC-based consultant on Middle East and South Asian political and security issues. [About]

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