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Misery mounts in drought-hit southeast Pakistan

Two-month-old Mangal succumbed to pneumonia on Tuesday in Mithi, southeast Pakistan, the latest victim of a drought that has led to malnutrition and disease in one of the country's poorest regions. Her father Buru had held a plastic tube supplying oxygen into her tiny nostrils all night, but his silent prayers were not enough. She died in a government hospital in Mithi, the main town of Tharparkar district, becoming one of at least 67 children to die of poverty-driven disease in the area since December.

Pakistan's Bhutto lashes out at 'stone-age' Taliban

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of Pakistan's assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto, slammed the Taliban Saturday for trying to drag the country back to a "stone-age era", as peace talks between the government and militants continued. Addressing a gathering during the closing ceremony of a two-week cultural festival in his home province of Sindh, Bilawal also urged the country to rise up against militants' threats.

Pakistan's Bhutto lashes out at the 'stone-age' Taliban

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of Pakistan's assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto, on Saturday slammed the Taliban for trying to drag the country back to the "stone-age." Addressing a gathering during the closing ceremony of a two-week cultural festival in his home province of Sindh, Bhutto also urged the country to rise up against the threats. "The Taliban want to impose the law of terror in the country, but I want to tell them, if you have to live in Pakistan you will have to follow its constitution," he said.

Pakistani cultural festival threatens ancient ruins

A festival to commemorate Pakistan's cultural heritage spearheaded by the scion of the Bhutto family could put the ruins of one of the world's ancient civilisations at risk, experts warned Thursday. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the heir to slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has launched a campaign to conserve the heritage of his home province of Sindh with a two-week festival due to begin on February 1.

Pakistani cultural festival threatens ancient ruins

A festival to commemorate Pakistan's cultural heritage spearheaded by the scion of the Bhutto family could put the ruins of one of the world's ancient civilizations at risk, experts warned Thursday. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the heir to slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has launched a campaign to conserve the heritage of his home province of Sindh with a two-week festival due to begin on February 1.

Bhutto's children to take part in politics

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of Pakistan's slain premier Benazir Bhutto, said Friday his two sisters would follow him into politics, in a speech on the sixth anniversary of his mother's death. The 25-year-old scion of the Bhutto dynasty has been the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairman since his mother's assassination in 2007 but has so far had a fairly limited role as a party figurehead. The PPP was heavily defeated in May's general election after five years in government, following a lacklustre campaign marred by Taliban violence.

Court reserves judgement on Musharraf travel ban

A Pakistani court on Monday reserved judgement on a request by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for permission to travel abroad to see his sick mother. Musharraf's lawyer petitioned the Sindh High Court last month to remove the retired general's name from an "exit control" list so he could leave the country. The matter has been adjourned repeatedly over the past month but on Monday a two-member bench reserved its decision. The ruling is likely to be announced later in the day, a court official said.

Pakistan names new chief justice

Pakistan on Wednesday named a successor to the country's top judge, who is retiring after a turbulent and at times controversial eight-year tenure. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani will take over as chief justice on December 12 after Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry steps down a day earlier, a senior government official told AFP. Chaudhry, originally appointed in 2005 during the military rule of Pervez Musharraf and who came to be one of the architects of the ruler's downfall, has divided opinion.

India guru charged with rape over teen sexual assault

Indian police on Wednesday charged a popular spiritual leader with raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl at a religious retreat, lawyers said. Asaram Bapu, one of many self-styled Hindu "godmen" who attract vast numbers of followers, was booked for several offences, including rape, trafficking and sexual crimes against minors. Bapu, 72, who in his preachings urges followers to live a "pious life" free of sexual desires, was arrested in September in central Madhya Pradesh state and flown to Jodhpur, in Rajasthan in western India, where the alleged assault took place.

Pakistan court reopens ex-president Zardari graft cases

Pakistan's anti-graft court has reopened five corruption cases against former president Asif Ali Zardari dating back to the 1990s, officials said on Monday. The allegations against Zardari relate to kickbacks, money laundering and the illegal construction of a polo ground at the prime minister's official residence, during his slain wife Benazir Bhutto's two stints as premier. As president Zardari enjoyed immunity from prosecution, but this ended when he stepped down after five years in September and now an anti-corruption court has taken up the cases.
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