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Bush in Pakistan for Talks With President Musharraf


President Bush is in Islamabad for discussions with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on the war on terror, and on the Pakistan's economic and political development.

Later Saturday Mr. Bush will meet with General Musharraf and will also hold a round-table discussion with representatives of Pakistani society.

Pakistan is a key ally in the U.S. led war on terrorism, but the government does not allow U.S. troops to operate on its side of the border where foreign militants, including al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, are believed to be hiding.

Security is extremely tight for the president's visit which began a day after a suicide bomber killed himself and three other people, including a U.S. diplomat, outside the U.S. consulate in the southern port city of Karachi on Thursday.

On Friday in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, police used batons to disperse hundreds of protesters who carried signs denouncing Mr. Bush.

In remarks before he departed India on Friday, President Bush said he believes a democratic, prosperous Pakistan will be a steadfast partner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India, and a force for freedom and moderation.

President Bush said Washington's closer relations with New Delhi and Islamabad will benefit both countries.

He said the landmark nuclear deal finalized during talks Thursday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will strengthen the security and economy of India and Pakistan.

He said India also has the responsibility of opening up to more foreign investment and lowering tariffs for U.S. agricultural and other products.

As Mr. Bush spoke, thousands of Muslims marched through the streets of Hyderabad to protest the U.S. leader's visit. In the northern city of Lucknow, the protests turned into a Hindu-Muslim clash that left at least three people dead and at least 17 injured.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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