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Nine Killed as Pakistani Protesters Clash With Police

August 19, 1986|Associated Press

LAHORE, Pakistan — Thousands of people marched in Pakistan's cities Monday, often clashing with police, in an opposition campaign to oust President Zia ul-Haq. At least nine people were killed and dozens injured.

The largest procession was a march through Lahore by up to 10,000 people shouting, "Zia is a dog!" and "Death to the American imperialists!"

Riot police broke up smaller demonstrations in Karachi and Rawalpindi. Officials and local news reports said many of the injuries occurred in this Muslim nation's volatile southern province of Sind.

Opposition leaders there promised more protests today and said they will step up such civil disobedience actions as blocking roads. Sind's provincial government said the scheduled reopening of all schools and universities Wednesday after summer vacations was postponed until Sept. 2.

An alliance called the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, in an attempt to depose Gen. Zia and force elections, began the nationwide protest after opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's arrest last Thursday.

Zia on Pilgrimage

Zia has been out of the country since the trouble began, on a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The civilian government Zia appointed late last year issued a statement Monday saying two policemen were killed and another was wounded while trying to move about 200 protesters from a road near the town of Khesana Mori. Two demonstrators also were reported killed.

The police deaths were the first reported in the disturbances.

Hospital officials confirmed that a man was killed when police opened fire with rifles Monday in east Karachi. Police said the first shots came from the crowd.

Two other deaths by police gunfire were reported in Karachi and a man was shot to death in a clash with police near Hyderabad.

Journalists and other witnesses said police fired on rock-throwing protesters in the southern town of Askrand, killing one man and wounding another.

Official Pakistan radio put the death toll for the day at nine.

Protesters in southern Pakistan attacked and burned telephone exchanges and other government buildings, several banks and private buildings, witnesses reported.

Rail Traffic Suspended

Railroad traffic was suspended in parts of southern Pakistan because protesters burned ties on several lines. Rail officials in Karachi said no trains reached the city Monday.

Army units were called in to clear roadblocks on the national highway north of Karachi.

Riot police used shotguns and tear gas to disperse a march by about 3,000 protesters in Karachi. Scattered riots were reported there earlier in the day.

Three men wounded in Karachi riots Sunday night died Monday, hospital doctors reported. Two had been shot and the third suffocated after being hit by a tear gas shell, they said.

Opposition leaders predicted that tens of thousands would march on Monday, but the turnout was low in many areas.

Hundreds of riot police watched the march in Lahore. Some demonstrators yelled at the officers: "Shoot us! Shoot us!"

Anti-U.S. Slogans

Demonstrators shouted slogans against the United States along with those against Zia.

Many opposition supporters contend that American support has kept Zia in power since 1977, when he overthrew Bhutto's father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto was found guilty of conspiring to kill a political opponent and hanged in 1979.

Zia and his appointed prime minister, Mohammed Khan Junejo, have rejected opposition demands that elections be held before those scheduled for 1990. Zia lifted martial law Dec. 30. Although Junejo leads a civilian government, Zia still is president and army commander.

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