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ISLAMABAD: Pakistani security forces were on high alert today to thwart any possible attacks by militants to mark the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's killing in a unilateral raid by the US in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

Pakistan on high alert, fear Osama’s death anniversary attacks

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani security forces were on high alert today to thwart any possible attacks by militants to mark the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden's killing in a unilateral raid by the US in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

Last year, the Taliban had carried out a series of revenge attacks that included a suicide bombing on a police training centre that killed nearly 100 people.

Various embassies here have issued warnings, advising its citizens to avoid public places.

The US embassy has restricted its staff from going to restaurants and markets until May 5.

Relations between Islamabad and Washington are yet to recover from the crisis caused by the raid against the world's most wanted man, who was living in a compound a short distance from the elite Pakistan Military Academy. The US operation humiliated and embarrassed Pakistan's powerful security establishment, which faced criticism for its failure to detect then al-Qaeda chief bin Laden's presence.

Bin Laden's compound was demolished in February while his three widows and several children were deported to Saudi Arabia last month.

However, Pakistan continues to be accused of sheltering several most wanted terror suspects.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's successor, and Mullah Mohammad Omar, the supreme commander of the Afghan Taliban, are suspected to be in Pakistan.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the dreaded Haqqani network blamed for last month's attacks on Western targets in Kabul, too is based in the Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Last month, the US offered a 10-million dollar bounty for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba who is accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks. In a related development, the judicial commission probing bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan today announced that "no institution or individual has been held responsible so far" by the panel.

A spokesperson for the commission expressed serious concern at "baseless and concocted" reports in the media regarding the panel's report.

The report is in its final stages and will be finalised this month, the spokesperson said.

"The report will be finalised on May 21 and will be submitted to (Supreme Court) Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry within a week… Most probably this month," the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, a series of low-intensity bomb blasts today targeted ATM machines of a state-run bank and– railway tracks in Sindh province of southern Pakistan, injuring at least six persons. There were at least 16 blasts in cities and towns across Sindh, including the capital city of Karachi, Geo News channel reported.

A policeman was among the six people injured in the blasts. Four persons were injured when blasts targeted ATM machines outside branches of the National Bank of Pakistan at four places in Hyderabad city early this morning.

Blasts were also reported from Kotri, Dadu, Badin, Sukkur, Nawabshah, Thatta, Ranipur, Khairpur Nathan Shah, Tando Mohammad Khan and Larkana.

One low-intensity explosion damaged railway tracks near Ghotki.

The Jaffar Express train, going from Punjab to Sindh, had a narrow escape, media reports said. Local residents gathered at the tracks and signalled the train to stop.

A blast was also reported at Gulistan-e-Johar area of Karachi though there were no casualties.

SSP Haseeb Afzal Baig said the bombs used in Hyderabad city contained at least 500 gm of explosives.

The first blast in Hyderabad city occurred at about 5.30 am local time.

A little-known organisation called the Sindhu Desh Liberation Army (SDLA) claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Aijaz Bhatti said police had found pamphlets bearing the name of SDLA near the banks targeted in Hyderabad city.

The blasts created panic among people in several cities and towns. Security forces were put on alert and additional guards deployed at sensitive buildings in Sindh.

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