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Pakistani President Says Rioters Trying to Disrupt Elections Will be Shot


The Pakistani government says it has arrested eight suspected militants accused of involvement in bombings across the country.

Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Cheema told reporters the suspects were picked up in central Punjab province. They are believed to have played a role in attacks in several cities -- including Rawalpindi, outside the capital, Islamabad. Rawalpindi is where former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, but the Interior Ministry did not publicly link the suspects to the Bhutto killing.

The government spokesman also warned of what he called looming threats to Pakistani political leaders, urging candidates in upcoming elections to avoid large rallies. Late Monday, President Pervez Musharraf said people attempting to disrupt the February 18 poll will be shot.

He made the comments after a bomb attack Monday that killed 10 people in the southern city of Karachi.

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court sentenced three Islamic militants to life in prison for their participation in a failed 2002 attempt to assassinate President Musharraf.

The three were blamed for trying to set off a car rigged with explosives as Mr. Musharraf's convoy passed along a road in the southern city of Karachi. The remote detonator failed.

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

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