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Olympic Torch Relay Trouble-Free in Pakistani Stadium


Pakistan hosted its leg of the Olympic torch relay Wednesday in the capital, Islamabad, without any signs of protests or violence.

President Pervez Musharraf and long-time political rival, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, held the torch together, before handing it off to Pakistan's former field hockey captain Samiullah Khan to start the relay.

Hundreds of people, including school children waving Chinese and Pakistani flags, looked on at Jinnah Stadium.

Thousands of police lined the streets of Islamabad after officials said security concerns caused them to abandon plans to carry the torch down the streets of the city.

The torch relay celebrates the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. But activists have been using torch-related events to demonstrate against a Chinese crackdown on protesters in Tibet last month.

Indian officials say they arrested at least 47 protesters who gathered at the Chinese embassy in New Delhi today, a day before the Olympic torch is to arrive in the Indian capital. And Nepalese police detained at least 80 protesters outside the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu today.

Demonstrations also marred the torch's visit to London, Paris and San Francisco, but stops in Argentina, Tanzania and Oman proceeded without incident.

Australia announced today that its police have been given extra powers to search demonstrators to ensure protests do not turn violent when the torch reaches Canberra next week.

The relay is also scheduled to include Mount Everest, which lies on the border of Tibet and Nepal.

Pro-Tibet activists have called on the International Olympic Committee to cancel the Tibet leg of the torch relay.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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