Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blast at rally injures 30 in Pakistan

At least 30 people were injured on Tuesday when a bomb ripped through a political rally by nationalist tribesmen in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, officials said.

The bombing occurred as the Baloch nationalists observed the second anniversary of the death of their rebellious tribal leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, who was killed in his cave hideout during a military operation.

A homemade explosive device strapped to a motorbike went off as political activists gathered in the town of Dera Allah Yar, located some 300 km southeast of the provincial capital Quetta, a duty officer in the local police station said."No one was killed at the blast site, but eight of the injured taken to the hospital were in critical condition," according to the police officer.

Earlier, reports said that at least three people were killed and over 25 injured in the blast.Tuesday's attack was preceded by the overnight killing of at least eight people in militant violence and a clash between government security forces and protesting political activists.

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Ruling coalition splits in Pakistan

Pakistan's long-troubled ruling coalition collapsed Monday amid arguments over who should be the country's next president and whether and how to reinstate dozens of judges fired last year.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pulled his party out of the coalition Monday and joined the opposition.

The dramatic break came one week after Pervez Musharraf resigned the presidency amid a growing Islamist insurgency, which threatens Pakistan's stability and that of neighboring Afghanistan.

Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N blamed Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) for reneging on a pledge to reinstate dozens of judges Musharraf fired.

The demise of the coalition does not necessarily mean the government will collapse — at least not immediately. Zardari, widower of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, is expected to rally support from allies and form a new government.

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