Islamabad, Sept 22 : The Saturday's suicide bombing attack on a hotel in Islamabad could be the beginning of a fresh wave of attacks targeting the country's large cities, feel Pakistani security and intelligence officials.
At least 60 people had died and more than 200 were injured in the attack, which reduced the five-star hotel's building to ashes within a few hours. It has been likened by politicians and security officials to the New York attacks in 2001.
The bombing has sparked a security rethink for all of Pakistan's biggest urban areas, reported the Financial Times.
"This attack could be the beginning of a [new] terror campaign," the paper quoted one senior Pakistani intelligence official as saying.
Pakistan Prime Minister's Adviser on Interior, Rahman Malik said that the government planned to launch a new disaster management strategy which would include improvements to rescue operations and the introduction of closed circuit television cameras in high security zones.
Situated near the official residences of Asif Ali Zardari, the president, and of the prime minister - and a stone's throw from the city's diplomatic quarters - the attack has struck a blow at the heart of Pakistan's ruling establishment. It was not only a favoured base for foreign diplomats, businessmen and the Pakistani elite, but represented a premier western brand in Islamabad, being one of just two five-star hotels in the city.
"Now, the Marriott has gone and so has the pride of Pakistani rulers. If you don't just count the number of people killed, which is a number that adds on to so many others killed before, you have to appreciate the very powerful psychological effect," said a prominent businessman on Sunday while weighing the fallout from the attack.