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DAWN - the Internet Edition Send gifts to Pakistan through ExpressGiftService.com


May 12, 2007 Saturday Rabi-us-Sani 24, 1428


Updated round-the-clock, with major updates after 10:00 PST (05:00 GMT)

Latest News



Pakistan judge abandons rally after violence KARACHI, May 12, (AFP) - Pakistan's suspended chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Saturday abandoned plans to address supporters after deadly clashes in Karachi and flew back to the capital Islamabad, one of his lawyers said. “I wanted to address the bar association. But they (the government) want my lawyers to go back and I wanted to go back with my team of lawyers,” lawyer Imdad Awan quoted Chaudhry as saying at Karachi airport. (Posted @ 21:12 PST)


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30 killed in Pakistan political clashes KARACHI, May 12 (AFP) - At least 30 people were killed and more than 100 injured Saturday in clashes between rival political groups in Karachi, a senior security source told AFP. Most of the victims were members of opposition parties who were rallying in support of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was suspended on March 9 by President Pervez Musharraf. “There are 27 people dead in the violence. The number could go up. The majority of those killed are workers of opposition parties, mainly the Pakistan People's Party,” the official said on condition of anonymity. (Posted @ 20:04 PST)


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23 killed in Karachi gunbattles as chief justice arrives for rally KARACHI, Pakistan, May 12 (AP/Agencies) - Gunbattles and attacks killed at least 18 (23 according to latest reports) people and wounded dozens Saturday as Pakistan's political crisis descended into violence Meanwhile, Musharraf on Saturday ruled out declaring a state of emergency, as the turmoil sparked by his March 9 suspension entered a new deadly phase. In comments reported by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Musharraf urged the nation to stand united and remain peaceful. Officials contacted at three hospitals in Karachi reported at least 18 people had died in the violence and 55 were wounded. Police reported more than 70 wounded, many from gunfire. At least 20 vehicles reportedly set on fire. Another report said chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry declined an offer from authorities to travel to the venue of a planned downtown rally by helicopter and so was stranded at the airport _ as were hundreds of passengers from earlier flights. “The chief justice will only go to the city by road,” said Aitzaz Ahsan, an attorney for Chaudhry. (Posted @ 17:08 PST)


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15 killed, scores injured as violence erupts in Karachi on CJ’s arrival KARACHI, May 12, 2007 (Agencies) – At least 15 persons were killed and scores injured as rival political workers fought intense gunbattles Saturday ahead of huge rallies by Pakistan's suspended top judge Iftikhar Chaudhry and the pro-government MQM in Karachi and President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad in a show of street power . Black smoke billowed over the volatile southern city where mobs also torched a police post, four buses and dozens of other vehicles despite the presence of 15,000 paramilitary troops and police. “It is an extremely serious situation. We have reports of gunfire breaking out at several places in the city,” senior Karachi police officer Javed Munir told AFP. “Our people were attacked from several sides. They are surrounded, they are beseiged and several are injured but there are no ambulances to take them to hospital,” People's Party spokesman Sherry Rahman said. An MQM spokesman said four of its workers had been killed across the city. Meanwhile, justice Chaudhry remained stranded at Karachi airport after flying in on Saturday morning because government supporters used trucks with deflated tyres to shut down all main roads, including those leading to the airport. His main lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan, said the justice would not leave the airport unless authorities allowed the local bar association leaders who invited Chuadhry to come to the airport and lead him to the Sindh High Court. The MQM is holding a large counter-demonstration in Karachi to rival Chaudhry's. MQM supporters were taking out hundreds of rallies from all parts of Karachi for the main rally in the heart of the city at Tibet Centre on M.A. Jinnah Road (First Posted @ 14:16 PST Updated @ 14:46 PST)


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Pakistani city roads blocked ahead of judge visit KARACHI, May 12 (Reuters) Many roads in Karachi were blocked on Saturday apparently aimed at disrupting plans for the country's suspended chief justice to hold a rally and address the lawyers on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Sind High Court later in the day. Pro-government Muttahida Quami Movement is also holding a rival rally on what it calls the political tricks of Chaudhry supporters. Senior city police officer Mushtaq Shah said he did not know who had parked trucks and oil tankers and placed containers across city roads, virtually sealing of the airport, the High Court building and much of the city centre. But a government official, who declined to be identified, said authorities had blocked the roads in the interest of maintaining law and order. Saturday has been declared a public holiday for Karachi because of the rallies and the city's streets were largely deserted. (Posted @ 10:33 PST)


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Nisar Khuhro’s rally fired upon, several injured Karachi, May 12 (PPI): About half a dozen people received bullet injuries when armed men opened fire on the rally, led by Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, opposition leader in Sindh assembly and other PPP leaders, near Natha Khan bridge on airport road on Saturday noon. A trailer, a minibus and about a dozen other vehicles including motorcycles, were also set ablaze near Drigh road flyover at the junction of Sharah-e-Faisal and Rashid Minhas road where armed groups were involved in another major clash. There were reports of firing incidents also from PIB colony, Kala Board, SITE, Malir Halt, Guru Mandir and other areas. (Posted @ 15:48 PST)


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Flights from Pakistan's Karachi disrupted-airline KARACHI, May 12 (Reuters) - Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said on Saturday all domestic and international flights from Karachi were delayed because cabin crews could not reach the airport because of road blocks. The main road to the airport in Pakistan's biggest city was blocked on Saturday apparently in a bid by government supporters to disrupt plans by the country's suspended chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to hold a rally with his supporters in the city. “There has been a disturbance to our flight schedule since last night. It's not because we don't have plans but the reason is our cockpit and cabin crews cannot reach the airport,” said PIA spokesman Nasir Jamal. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was due to fly into Karachi from Islamabad around mid-day local time and address lawyers at the city-centre High Court. Hundreds of travellers were stranded at the airport, said one passenger waiting for a domestic flight. (Posted @ 11:51 PST)


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Lawyers to observe complete boycott on Monday Karachi May 12 (PPI) - Lawyers Saturday condemned violence in Karachi that claimed about 30 lives on the occasion of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry's visit to address lawyers and announced to observe complete boycott of court proceedings across the country on Monday May 14. They will observe complete strike, hold protest demonstrations and rallies. (Posted @ 23:42 PST)


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Musharraf warns judge supporters, condemns violence ISLAMABAD, May 12, (AFP) - President Pervez Musharraf vowed Saturday to defeat anyone politicizing his suspension of Pakistan's top judge as he addressed a rally under the shadow of political violence in Karachi. Speaking to thousands of ruling party activists in Islamabad, Musharraf said he was outraged by clashes in the southern port city of Karachi that left 30 people dead during a visit by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. “Do not challenge us. We are not cowards like you, we have the power of the people,” said Musharraf, who was standing behind a bulletproof screen and wearing traditional Pakistani dress. “My heart was bleeding when I saw on television what was happening in Karachi. I strongly condemn this violence,” Musharraf said. (Posted @ 23:22 PST)


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Roadside bomb kills eight Afghan policemen KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, May 12, (AFP) - Eight Afghan policemen were killed when a roadside bomb tore through their vehicle in the southern province of Kandahar on Saturday, a police commander said. (Posted @ 21:40 PST)


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Musharraf rules out emergency RAWALPINDI, May 12 (PPI) - President Pervez Musharraf has categorically stated that emergency would not be imposed in the country as there is absolutely no environment for taking such a drastic decision. Speaking after performing the ground-breaking ceremony of 165MW power plant in Rawalpindi on Saturday he said free, fair and transparent elections would be held in the country and a new government will come into power as a result of these elections. He hoped that the emergence of a new government of moderates would show supremacy of moderate forces in Pakistan. Referring to the energy situation he said Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project would be a major breakthrough and a win- win situation for all the three countries. Pakistan would go ahead with the project even if India is not on board, he added. President Musharraf said Pakistan is also finalizing an agreement with Iran to buy 1000 megawatt of electricity besides studying a proposal to import electricity from Kirgyzstan. (Posted @ 19:08 PST)


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Pakistan government fomented violence: HRW ISLAMABAD, May 12 (AFP) - The Pakistani government deliberately stoked the political violence in Karachi which left 15 people (23 according to latest reports) dead ahead of a rally by the country's suspended chief justice, Human Rights Watch said Saturday. The New York-based watchdog said the federal government and the government of Sindh province had failed to ensure security for its citizens while police were “silent spectators” to the bloodshed. “The prevention of a peaceful reception for the chief justice by Musharraf's supporters demonstrates the military government's intolerance for civil society actions and has triggered widespread violence and death,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Human Rights Watch's South Asia researcher. “The sequence of events leading up to this violence, including statements from the provincial authorities and the arrest of hundreds of opposition activists ... indicates that the government, acting through its coalition partners, has deliberately sought to foment violence in Karachi.” Hasan said it was a “dark day for civil and political liberties in Pakistan.” (Posted @ 19:28 PST)


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Bomb blast kills one, injures 14 at Turkish market ANKARA, May 12 (AFP) -A bomb ripped through a marketplace in Izmir on Saturday killing one person and leaving 14 others injured, officials said. The bomb was planted in a bag and left on a bicycle. (Posted @ 19:12 PST)


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Occupied Kashmir under virtual martial law: Indian human rights activists SRINAGAR, occupied Kashmir, May 12 (AP) - The military runs occupied Kashmir as if it were under martial law, denying basic freedoms and repeatedly targeting civilians, according to a report by Indian human rights activists. The report, issued Friday after a weeklong fact-finding mission to the Himalayan region, accuses the military of having a vice-like grip on the civilian population. “The rural areas continue to be completely captive to the armed forces, and the people can do nothing which does not meet the approval of the army,” said the report, signed by 11 prominent Indian rights activists. “The army, which is supposed to merely aid the civil administration under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, has completely supplanted the civil administration. The only name for this is martial law,” said the report, authored by K. Balagopal of the Human Rights Forum. (Posted @ 18:34 PST)


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Storm kills at least 31 people in northern India LUCKNOW, India, May 12 (AP) - At least 31 people were killed as a violent storm lashed northern India, crumpling houses and leaving large areas without electricity, officials said Saturday. Twenty-four people were killed in the town of Sultanpur in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh when several buildings collapsed, while three others were killed by lightning in the neighboring town of Pratapgarh, police said. (First Posted @ 18:11 PST Updated @ 21:36 PST)


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Five US-led soldiers killed, three missing in Iraq BAGHDAD, May 12 (AFP) - Five US-led soldiers were killed on Saturday and three reported missing after an attack south of Baghdad, the US military announced, following earlier reports that three troops had been captured. “This morning at 4:44 A.M. in Iraq, a coalition force team of eight soldiers -- seven Americans and an Iraqi army interpreter -- were attacked 12 miles west of Mahmudiyah,” said spokesman Major General William Caldwell. “As a result of this attack, five soldiers were killed in action and three are currently missing,” he said, without clarifying whether the dead were all US soldiers or whether the Iraqi interpreter was among those killed. (First Posted @ 17:25 PST Updated @ 18:09 PST)


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AJK:Canada asked to provide platform for third party meditation TRONTO, May 12 (PPI) - Former AJK Prime Minister Barrister Sultan Mehmood has said that Kashmir issue is dangerous for world peace and must not be allowed to remain unresolved . Talking to the Chairman Standing Committee and Canadian Former immigration Minister Mr. Judy Sgro in a meeting on Saturday he said that Canada should provide platform for third party mediation between Pakistan and India. He also asked the Canadian government to send a delegation to monitor human rights violations in occupied Kashmir. (Posted @ 16:38 PST)


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India beats Bangladesh by 46 runs in second one-dayer DHAKA, Bangladesh, May 12 (AP) - India beat Bangladesh by 46 runs in the second rain-shortened limited-overs cricket international Saturday at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Scores: India 284-8, 49 overs (Gautam Gambhir 101, Rahul Dravid 42; Mohammad Rafique 59-3) Bangladesh 238-9, 49 overs (Habibul Bashar 43, Mashrafe bin Mortaza 42; Piyush Chawla 37-3). (First Posted @ 13:09 PST Updated @ 16:28 PST)


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Dozens of Taliban killed in Afghan south-official KABUL, May 12 (Reuters) - Western and Afghan troops have driven out the Taliban from a southern area after a week-long battle in which more than 70 militants have been killed, an Afghan security official said on Saturday. There were no casualties among the Afghan and Western troops in the fighting in Nahri Saraj of Helmand province. Five Taliban commanders were amongst those killed, the official said, adding there were no casualties among civilians. “We have driven out the Taliban from the district and it is under our control,” he said. (Posted @ 16:25 PST)


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Britain's Brown to visit Iraq soon, declines to set withdrawal dates LONDON, May 12 (AFP) - Britain's likely next prime minister Gordon Brown said Saturday he intended to visit Iraq soon to meet with British troops and the Iraqi authorities, but declined to set a timetable for withdrawal. Brown said he wanted to sound out both sides about future British policy in Iraq, as he spoke on BBC after launching his bid Friday to succeed Prime Minister Tony Blair who announced he would resign June 27. “British policy in Basra, which is the part that we are responsible for, is actually determined by the assessment that is made by army chiefs on the ground,” Brown said when asked if Washington ultimately set policy. (Posted @ 16:18 PST)


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Argentina beats Pakistan, China trounces Canada in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, May 12 (AP) - Pedro Ibarra scored twice to propel Argentina to a 4-2 victory over Pakistan and a fifth-place finish Saturday in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament. Argentina led 3-0 at halftime In another playoff match, China beat minnow Canada 4-2 to finish the competition in seventh place. The final will be played Sunday between host Malaysia and Olympic champion Australia. (Posted @ 15:26 PST)


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3 dead in collision between airplanes over Ohio suburb SHARONVILLE, Ohio, May 12 (AP) - Two small aircraft collided Friday over suburban Cincinnati, raining debris onto roads and backyards and killing three people on board, federal investigators said. No injuries were reported on the ground. (Posted @ 10:44 PST)


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Suicide bombers play havoc in Iraq Baghdqad, May 12 (Reuters) - Suicide truck bombers struck Iraqi police checkpoints on two bridges in southern Baghdad on Friday, killing 22 people and badly damaging one of the bridges. Police said 60 people were wounded. A truck bomb hit a bridge near the town of Taji on the main highway followed by a car bomb that killed four Iraqi army soldiers there. Police meanwhile said they found 20 bullet-riddled bodies in different districts of Baghdad on Thursday. Police found six more bodies in different districts in Mosul. (Posted @ 10:41 PST)


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Two Singaporeans killed in Taiwan military jet crash TAIPEI, May 12 (AFP) -Two Singaporean servicemen were killed and nine others wounded in a fighter jet crash in Taiwan on Friday that also killed two Taiwanese pilots, officials said. (Posted @ 09:53 PST)


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