Two rockets found outside Pakistan's parliament

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The Independent Online

Bomb disposal experts today defused two rockets with mobile phones attached that were primed to fire toward Pakistan's parliament, a security official said.

A construction worker found the rockets on a lawn, shaded by trees and bushes, less than a mile from the National Assembly in Islamabad, the official said at the scene.

The assembly lies near government ministries, the official residence of the prime minister and the president's office.

As the rockets were being defused, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf was appearing live on television at a conference about earthquake reconstruction held in a convention center about a mile away.

Police blocked access roads to parliament. About a dozen army soldiers with guns were guarding the area, which had been cordoned off with yellow tape.

Islamabad police spokesman Naeem Iqbal said that "something like rockets" have been found near the parliament, but officials were still determining their exact type.

A senior police officer said the two rockets were found near an under-construction building. He said that several workers from the construction site were being questioned, but none were suspected of planting the rockets.

The security alert follows an explosion late yesterday, centred in a public park in Islamabad's sister city of Rawalpindi, about a mile from Musharraf's army residence. No one was hurt in the blast. Officials said it was caused by a bomb, but details were sketchy.

The president, a key ally in the US-led war on terror, is also army chief.