DATE=7/16/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=PAK BLAST (L) NUMBER=2-264457 BYLINE=SCOTT ANGER DATELINE=ISLAMABAD CONTENT= VOICED AT: //Editors - Change casualty figures in the intro as warranted// INTRO: A powerful bomb has ripped through a crowded passenger train in the southern Pakistani city of Hyderabad, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens more. As correspondent Scott Anger reports from Islamabad, Sunday's blast is the most recent in a number of unexplained explosions, which have occurred in Pakistan in recent weeks. TEXT: Pakistan railway officials say the bomb exploded minutes after the crowded train pulled out of the station enroute to Karachi, about 160 kilometers south of Hyderabad. Witnesses describe hearing a large bang, which sent people scrambling as smoke quickly filled the train. Army troops and rescue workers quickly cordoned off the area. Several passengers died at the scene. Most of the injured have been taken to area hospitals. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast and police say no arrests have been made. The source of the bombing is not clear, but southern Pakistan - in particular Karachi - has suffered from ethnic and religiously motivated violence over the last decade. Much of the violence has come from activists of the Muttahida Qami Movement - or M-Q-M - a party that represents immigrants and their descendants from India who settled in urban areas of Sindh province after Pakistan's creation in 1947. Sunday's blast comes a day after Farooq Sattar, a top M-Q-M leader, was sentenced to 14 years in jail after being convicted of corruption in a special anti- corruption court. He has also been barred from holding public office for 21 years. The conviction is part of the country's crackdown by the military government on corrupt officials and politicians. Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister who was ousted in a bloodless military coup last October, is himself facing a number of corruption charges as part of the government crackdown. Dozens of people have been killed in a series of explosions throughout Pakistan in the past year. All of the explosions have occurred in public places and authorities say the aim has been to create panic and chaos in the country. Pakistani officials routinely blame the blasts on intelligence agents from neighboring India. Both countries routinely accuse each other of sabotage. India and Pakistan, who have fought three wars since 1947, each deny the allegations. (SIGNED) NEB/SA/PLM 16-Jul-2000 03:31 AM EDT (16-Jul-2000 0731 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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