Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 16:47 UK

Olympic torch relay in Pakistan

Careful arrangements for the Olympic Torch's journey

Ceremonies to mark the arrival of the Olympic torch in Pakistan have been taking place amid tight security.

Thousands of police and troops were deployed, and the torch run was confined, for security reasons, to a sports stadium in Islamabad.

The relay has been met with protests in London, Paris and San Francisco over China's handling of Tibet.

In India, where the torch arrives on Thursday, there have been protests with at least 50 Tibetans being detained.

Olympic flame

The ceremony in Islamabad was begun by a marching band, with thousands of cheering guests waving flags.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani watched as the torch was lit from the Olympic flame.

Then some 60 Pakistani and Chinese athletes carried it round the track of the Jinnah stadium, joggling slowly in the limited space.

Our correspondent in Islamabad, Barbara Plett, says that because of the strong friendship between the two countries, there was less fear of disruption by protests than in other cities.

Mr Musharraf has just returned from a visit to China, with which Pakistan shares historic defence and economic links.


The demonstration in India, which was in front of the Chinese Embassy in Delhi, was quickly broken up by police.

India, too, has shortened the route along which the torch is to be carried, amid threats that the run will be disrupted.

Indian police detain Tibetan protestors on the route of the Olympic Torch near India Gate war memorial at New Delhi
India has seen protests over the Olympics for several weeks

Demonstrations against China's policies on Tibet and Darfur have forced previous relay legs to be shortened or diverted.

Other cities preparing to receive the torch are also making preparations.

In the Australian capital Canberra, police have been given extra powers to search those watching the relay for items such as guns and knives.

There are fears of clashes between Chinese supporters and Tibetan groups protesting about their rights, with both sides planning to have a large presence at the Australian relay event next week.

Although human rights protests caused chaos during the torch's passage through London, Paris and San Francisco last week, subsequent stop-overs in Argentina, Tanzania and Oman have been largely trouble-free.

Torch lit in Olympia on 24 March and taken on five-day relay around Greece to Athens
After handover ceremony, taken to Beijing on 31 March to begin a journey of 136,800 km (85,000 miles) around the world

Torch arrives in Macau on 3 May. After three-month relay all around China, it arrives in Beijing for opening ceremony on 8 August


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