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Pakistan markets closed in strike protest

Markets in Pakistani cities were shut in response to a strike called by the opposition to protest against new taxes. Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif called the strike a success and asked Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's government to withdraw immediately this year's tax-packed budget and bring in a new one. Mr Sharif led opposition deputies, who wore black arm bands in protest, in a walk-out from the lower house of parliament.

"The people's wrath will sink the government down," he said. Police and paramilitary rangers patrolled streets and guarded markets in main cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar as well as the capital Islamabad, but there were no reports of violence. Reuter - Islamabad