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Friday, April 18, 2008

Pakistan: Pro-Musharraf activists face arrest for fatal protests
Islamabad, 17 April
(AKI - By Syed Saleem Shahzad) -
The Sindh provincial government led by parties opposed to President Pervez Musharraf has approved the arrest of activists allegedly involved in recent fatal protests.Activists linked to the pro-Musharraf Muttahida Qaumi Movement or MQM are expected to be arrested in connection with killings that occurred during clashes on 12 May 2007 and 9 April 2008, sources told Adnkronos International (AKI) on condition of anonymity. “The intelligence bureau has assessed all TV footage of May 12 which has clearly identified the faces of the office bearers of MQM workers involved in shootings,” a senior Pakistan People's Party leader told AKI.On 12 May last year, the deposed chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhary was invited by the Sindh Bar Association in Karachi to address lawyers. The MQM, then the coalition ruling party in the province, announced a rally in Karachi on the same day to support Musharraf. More than 46 people died in violent clashes.The Pashtun sub-nationalist Awami National Party, Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz group claimed the victims belonged to their parties and were going to welcome the deposed chief justice at Karachi airport.President Pervez Musharraf addressed the meeting on the same night and later ordered all inquiries on the May 12 masscre were set aside on the orders of President Musharraf. However, the PPP and the PML-Nawaz made the May 12 incident an election slogan. “The intelligence bureau and the Sindh police have also identified MQM’s activists involved in the burning of Tahir plaza on April 9, 2008 where lawyers and their clients were burnt alive” the PPP source told AKI.It is unclear how Musharraf will react to plans to proceed with the arrest and possible prosecution of activists.

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