- The Washington Times - Friday, October 8, 2004

INDIA

Heavy rains trigger landslides, 54 die

GUWAHATI — At least 54 persons have died and more than a million have fled their homes as torrential rains lashed parts of India and Bangladesh, officials said yesterday.

Eleven persons were killed in landslides in Guwahati, the biggest city in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, taking the death toll from rains for the past three days to 18, officials said.

Late yesterday evening, 11 more persons were reported dead as the boat in which they were traveling to safer areas capsized in west Assam’s Goalpara district, 90 miles from Guwahati.

Officials said nearly 80,000 people had been displaced in the state.

PAKISTAN

Bill seeks to let Musharraf keep post

ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani government submitted a bill to the National Assembly yesterday to enable President Pervez Musharraf to continue as both president and army chief of staff after Dec. 31.

Opposition leaders including those of the fundamentalist Islamic bloc Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal said that the bill is unconstitutional because the tenure of the presidency cannot be changed by parliament but only through an amendment to the constitution.

Gen. Musharraf has maintained that he will keep his top army post for the sake of democratic stability in his country. He seized power in a military coup in 1999.

PAKISTAN

Sunni Muslims protest bombing

MULTAN — Thousands of Sunni Muslims staged angry protests in a central Pakistani city yesterday despite a government move to ban such gatherings, and vowed revenge for a bomb attack on a religious rally that killed 42.

Supporters of assassinated Sunni Muslim militant Azam Tariq set fire to tires and motorcycles in the city of Multan and chanted slogans against the government and minority Shi’ite Muslims they blame for Thursday’s attack.

KAZAKHSTAN

Nazarbayev boosts parliamentary majority

ASTANA — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grip on power will be boosted by the new parliament with a sweeping majority of loyal parties, according to official election results.

Mr. Nazarbayev has run the oil-rich Central Asian state with little opposition since 1989. The support of a loyal legislature will be instrumental in his campaign for re-election to a seven-year term in 2006.

After Sunday’s runoff, Mr. Nazarbayev’s Otan (Fatherland) Party won 42 seats in the 77-member lower Mazhilis chamber, the Central Election Commission said in announcing the results Tuesday.

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