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Pakistan's Military Ruler Apologizes for Police Crackdown on Media


Pakistani riot police raided the offices of a private television station Friday, firing tear gas, breaking windows and scuffling with employees.

Military ruler President Pervez Musharraf later apologized to Geo Television in a rare, live telephone interview with the station. General Musharraf said police involved in the raid had acted on their own and would be punished.

Police also tried to force Geo Television to shut off cameras filming increasingly violent protests in the capital, Islamabad. Demonstrators are protesting General Musharraf's suspension of the chief justice of nation's Supreme Court.

The raid came one day after Geo Television said government regulators ordered its flagship daily news program "Today with Kamran Khan" (Aaj Kamran Khan Key Saath) off the air because of its coverage of the growing controversy.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement condemning what it called the heavy-handed tactics of the Pakstani government.

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

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