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Pakistan attacks disrupt an expected postelection calm

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In four separate incidents over the weekend, suicide bombers struck large gatherings in Pakistan, shattering a fragile sense of optimism that has prevailed since national elections on Feb. 18.

The hope has been that those elections, by empowering Pakistan's moderate, secular parties, could help stem Pakistan's rising tide of extremism, which has left about 500 people dead this year. But for the last week, the elections have not brought a much needed sense of calm and euphoria.

But in what seems to be a stepped-up effort to sow chaos and fear, suicide bombers struck on Friday in Lakki Marwat, in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, killing a district superintendent of police, CNN reports. The following day, militants struck again during that police official's funeral in Swat Valley – where the Army is still battling Taliban militants – killing 46 people. On Saturday, a suicide bomber targeted the vehicle of a security official in Bajaur Agency, a Taliban enclave near the border of Afghanistan, killing 21 people, the Associated Press reports.

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