04/15/2008, 00.00
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Islamabad under siege for the torch as a “twin” torch gets ready for India

The Pakistani government has changed the route for the Olympic torch relay, which arrives tomorrow. Now it will only take place in a stadium. Tibetans get ready for protest in Delhi where a torch relay dedicated to human rights will take to the streets.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – After a rough electoral period and shocks generated by the emergence of its new government, Pakistan is facing another security threat, the Olympic torch, which has become a moving target for protests by Chinese and Tibetan exiles around the world.

Islamabad has declared an “Olympic state of emergency” of sorts, changing the route of the relay and mobilising thousands of police officers to protect Pakistani torch bearers.

Despite reassurances by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry and the International Olympic Committee, the relay will now be confined to the city's heavily guarded Jinnah Stadium, dedicated to the Father of the Nation, before it leaves for Delhi.

In the Indian capital expectations are not that much better. Some members of exiled Tibetan youth movements in India announced their intention to take part in a “twin” relay dedicated to human rights.

“The Indian government said it would not allow the public to see the torch relay. For this reason we shall have another relay, one protesting against Chinese atrocities in Lhasa,” Tenzin Choeying, president of Students for a Free Tibet, told AsiaNews.

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