A Pakistani religious leader killed

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In a Bomb blast Pakistani religious leader and two of his guards are killed yesterday. Police said, as officers prepared for a militant backlash over a continuing military operation.

Pakistan launched a military offensive in June to seize control of the Taliban stronghold of North Waziristan, a remote mountainous region on the border with Afghanistan.

Recent weeks have been quiet as Muslims observed the holy month of Ramadan by fasting during the day.But police have said they expect attacks to increase after Ramadan ended last week

Yesterday’s bomb attack took place as a crowd of thousands gathered at a Sufi shrine near the city of Dera Ismail Khan where the religious leader, Faqir Jamshed, was due to preside at a function.

Police said an improvised explosive device planted on the road exploded as Jamshed’s car passed near the village of Maddi, just outside Dera Ismail Khan.

The attack killed Jamshed and his guards, said Zahoor Khan, police chief in the restive area.

Police patrols have also been stepped up and hundreds of suspected militants arrested around the country, authorities say.

Sufism, a mystical and tolerant form of Islam that emphasises a direct link with God, is coming under increasing attack from hardline Taliban-linked militants in Pakistan.

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