Pakistan army takes over radio, TV, phone services

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's state-owned telecoms monopoly and radio and TV networks have been taken over by the army and cellular phone services suspended countrywide with the November 5 dismissal of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party-led government and Parliament's National Assembly.

The South Asian nation's elite 111 Brigade division took control of Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Television Corporation and Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation within hours of Bhutto's sudden dismissal on charges of violating democratic norms by President Sardar Farooq Ahmed Leghari.

Cellular services, considered sensitive in a land wracked with communal and anti-immigrant riots, have been closed only weeks after a ban was recently lifted.

Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari are accused of abetting rampant corruption and nepotism in Pakistan, a country of 130 million ruled mostly by a powerful army for most of the 50 years since it split from neighboring India in 1947.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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