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Karachi faces militant threat
- Rebels can launch attacks on September 11 to prove point

Karachi, Aug. 28 (Reuters): Pakistan said today it had credible information that Islamic militants angered by President Pervez Musharraf’s support for the US-led war on terror might launch attacks in Karachi on September 11.

The director-general of the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers, Maj.-Gen. Salahuddin, told reporters they had beefed up security in the sprawling city ahead of the anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington.

“There is credible information that they (Islamic militants) want to convey a message on September 11,” Salahuddin said.

“We have taken adequate security measures to prevent such attacks... security arrangements on September 11 is one of our top priority areas,” he added.

He declined to disclose possible targets in a city where 26 people, including 11 French naval engineers, have been killed in two attacks by suspected militants in recent months.

“There are some hard targets and some soft targets... I will not disclose any specific targets.”

Pakistan has seen a rise in Islamic militancy, including a series of attacks on foreign targets after Musharraf threw his weight behind the US-led war in the wake of the September 11 attacks last year.

The French engineers and three Pakistanis were killed in a suicide bombing in Karachi in May while 12 people were killed in a car bomb attack outside the US consulate in the city on June 14.

American journalist Daniel Pearl was kidnapped from the city in January while researching a story on Islamic militants and was later murdered.

The Rangers arrested four members of militant group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen al-Almi in July in connection with the attack on the US consulate and an attempt to kill Musharraf. Three were later formally charged with the consulate bombing.

Salahuddin said India’s intelligence outfit — Research and Analysis Wing (Raw) — could also use the cover of the September 11 anniversary to carry out violent attacks in the country.

Nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India have been locked in a military standoff over Kashmir region since a December attack on the Indian parliament that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based Islamic militants.

Trial adjourned

The trial of three militants charged with murdering 12 people in a car-bomb attack outside the US consulate in June was adjourned today after the government sought to reconstitute the prosecution team.

A court official said the trial was adjourned until August 31.

He said the government had decided to nominate Raja Qureshi, advocate general in southern Sindh province, as the chief prosecutor while two other public prosecutors would be part of the government’s legal team.

Qureshi was the lead prosecutor in the trial of British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three others, who were convicted last month for the kidnap and murder of Daniel Pearl.

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