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Pakistan cuts short Olympic torch route

Pakistan Olympics Association President Syed Arif Hassan says the torch relay will now be held inside a sports complex.
None | By DPA, Islamabad
UPDATED ON APR 14, 2008 08:51 PM IST

Pakistan has reduced the length of the route of the Olympic torch relay owing to security concerns, officials said on Monday.

Pakistan Olympics Association President Syed Arif Hassan said the torch was originally scheduled to travel a distance of five and a half kilometre on capital Islamabad's avenues, but now the relay will be held inside a sports complex. Hundreds of security personnel will guard the venue.

Major cities of Pakistan have been in the grip of deadly attacks, generally carried out by pro-Taliban militants and their supporters, for the government's proactive role in US-led fight against terrorism.

The torch will arrive in Islamabad late Tuesday evening from Muscat but the relay will be held the next day, on Wednesday.

"The torch is on its journey of harmony and we share the dreams and the message that the torch conveys to the whole world," Hassan told reporters in Islamabad.

Pakistan Olympics Association was not expecting any demonstrations on the arrival of the flame, similar to those that have occurred in London, Paris and San Francisco.

President Pervez Musharraf is to launch the torch relay in Islamabad.

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