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Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 14:01 UK

Protests erupt over Pakistan NWFP name change

Pakistani policemen clash with protesters in Abbottabad
Many among the non-Pashtun community oppose the name change

Security has been tightened in parts of northern Pakistan after violent protests over moves to rename North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

At least five people have been killed since trouble broke out in the Hazara region on Monday.

Hazaras in NWFP are part of a different ethnic group from majority Pashtuns and oppose calling it Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.

The National Assembly approved the new name as part of a package of constitutional amendments last week.

The changes would also curb the power of the president, and still need to be approved by the Senate.

'Looting'

Pashtuns dominate NWFP but not the province's Hazara division.

"Additional security personnel have been called in to protect government offices across the region," Iqbal Khan, head of the local administration in Abbottabad, told the BBC.

Demonstrators clamber onto a vehicle during Tuesday's protest
Sporadic incidents of violence have been reported throughout Tuesday

"Some looting has taken place alongside the rioting, with at least two arms shops being robbed."

Abbottabad is the main town and district of the Hazara division. This administrative division comprises five districts - Abbottabad, Haripur, Batagram, Mansehra and Kohistan.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says that all except Kohistan district have majorities from the Hindko-speaking population, which is distinct from the Pashto-speaking population elsewhere in NWFP.

Hindko is an ancient language spoken by several million people mainly in the Hazara division, but also in parts of Kashmir and Afghanistan.

Our correspondent says that violence started on Monday after protesters clashed with policemen in Abbottabad. Five demonstrators were killed.

Violence has spread since then to other parts of the Hazara region.

Sporadic incidents of violence have been reported during a strike being observed on Tuesday.

Renaming NWFP has been a long-standing demand of ethnic Pashtuns. Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa means "Khyber side of the land of the Pakhtuns".



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