Sun, Aug 31, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Asif Ali Zardari moves to secure hilltop mansion


Pakistan’s presidential front-runner has moved into a tightly guarded government compound over security fears, officials said as a militant campaign against the government led to more violence in the country’s volatile northwest.

The army said yesterday at least 30 Taliban were killed in fresh air strikes.

The party of Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto, has sought to assure the US since Pervez Musharraf’s ouster as president that it is committed to battling terrorists.

The country has been hit by a string of suicide bombings this month, including one last week that left 67 dead. Many of the victims were civilians.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told reporters on Friday that Zardari — who is widely expected to win next Saturday’s presidential election — was staying at a hilltop mansion in Islamabad’s government quarters “for security reasons.”

He did not elaborate, but an intelligence official said there had been reports that the presidential hopeful could be the target of an attack.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Army spokesman Major Nasir Ali said yesterday at least 30 Taliban were killed when the military backed by fighter jets destroyed some of militant hide-outs in Swat Valley on Friday.

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