Pakistan marks I-Day under tight security
The Islamic republic of Pakistan became independent from Britain and split with majority Hindu India in 1947.india Updated: Aug 14, 2006 17:45 IST
Pakistani authorities tightened security on Monday for the country's 59th independence day amid a ongoing probe into an alleged plot to blow up airliners flying from Britain.
Thousands of extra police were deployed in the tightly-guarded capital Islamabad, the sprawling southern metropolis of Karachi and the eastern city of Lahore, security officials said.
"We are on heightened alert although there is no specific threat," a senior official told the agency on condition of anonymity.
The Islamic republic of Pakistan became independent from Britain and split with majority Hindu India in 1947.
Since then it has been under sporadic military rule, fought three wars with India including two over the disputed territory of Kashmir, developed nuclear weapons and joined the US-led "war on terror".
The president General Pervez Musharraf, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1999, said in a speech late on Sunday that Pakistan did not threaten other countries but would not accept any threats itself.
"We are a strong nation and nobody dares threaten or coerce us," the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan quoted him as saying.
In apparent reference to Islamic militants who have carried out frequent attacks and tried to assassinate him three times, Musharraf urged Pakistanis to "actively counter those who may try to bring a bad name" to the country.
Pakistan stepped up general security last week after British police said on Thursday that they had busted an alleged conspiracy to bomb transatlantic passenger jets and arrested 24 people.
The worldwide investigation into the terror scheme turned towards Pakistan after Islamabad said it had arrested a British Al-Qaeda suspect named Rashid Rauf in early August.
Security officials said Rauf provided breakthrough leads that allowed Britain to smash the plot, adding that the planners had connections with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.