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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Lonely burial for Baloch leader
Coffin is placed in the grave at funeral in Dera Bugti
Only a handful of mourners were present at the burial
Tribal chief Nawab Akbar Bugti has been buried in Pakistan's Balochistan province six days after being killed in a military raid, the authorities say.

No relatives were among the handful of people who saw the sealed coffin laid to rest in his home town of Dera Bugti.

The cleric who performed the last rites identified Bugti's remains. The family wanted a public funeral in Quetta.

Troops are on full alert for unrest. Strikes are being observed in a number of cities in protest at the killing.

It was our right to have the body and bury it
Akbar Bugti's son Jamil

Nawab Akbar Bugti's death in the military raid on Saturday triggered days of violent protests across Balochistan in which a number of people died.

Observers say the manner of his killing may further inflame tensions in the province.

Row over body

The BBC's Aijaz Mahar in Dera Bugti says the locked casket was buried next to the graves of the tribal leader's son and his brother.

Fewer than two dozen people were present for his last rites, our correspondent says.

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The quiet burial took place against the wishes of the family, who did not attend. Mourners were heavily outnumbered by dozens of security personnel.

Relatives have accused the government of refusing to hand over the body.

Following days of unrest, the authorities had declared that only two members of the Bugti family could attend the funeral - an offer which was rejected.

One of Bugti's sons, Talal, said they were not even asked to identify the decomposed body and queried whether it was that of his father.

Dera Bugti district co-ordination officer Abdul Samad Lasi told the BBC the tribal chief's abdomen had been crushed, but his face and legs were unmarked.

He said he had also been identified with the help of his watch, cane, glasses and ring.

The only person to see the body during the funeral was the mullah who performed the ceremony, Reuters news agency reports.

"I have recognised the body," Maulana Malook told the agency.

Crushed

Bugti, a former chief minister of Balochistan, had campaigned for years for the gas-rich province to be given greater autonomy and a larger share of natural resources.

Nawab Akbar Bugti - file photo

But the Pakistani authorities accused him of leading an armed insurgency against the state.

Soldiers unearthed the 79-year-old's body from under a heavy boulder in his cave hideout in Balochistan on Thursday.

The bodies of a number of his followers were also reportedly found in the cave.

Nawab Akbar Bugti was regarded as a hero by many in Balochistan, but in the government's eyes he was a greedy feudal overlord who led a heavily-armed private militia and stood in the way of national development.

Baloch militant groups have regularly mounted bomb attacks on pipelines and other targets in the region.

Mr Bugti was tracked down to his mountain cave hideout on Saturday. Military sources originally said he died in a ground and air operation.

Officials have since given differing accounts of what happened, and deny that security forces meant to kill him.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The simple funeral service of the tribal chief



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