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    Rabbani laid to rest amid rowdy scenes

    KABUL (PAN): Top peace negotiator Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani was laid to rest in the Wazir Akbar Khan diplomatic district of Kabul on Friday afternoon, amid rowdy scenes and in the absence of President Hamid Karzai.

    The funeral procession went peacefully to the hill-top graveyard, where an emotionally-charged former Afghan spy chief, Amrullah Saleh, shouted: "We don't want to bury our martyr in the presence of government officials."

    As friends took Saleh away to calm him down, a number of people behind the graveyard wall sought to enter. Denied entry into the cemetery, they pelted stones at the security personnel on duty. The individuals forced their way into graveyard.

    After the ex-president was laid to rest, his son Salahuddin Rabbani asked the mourners to remain peaceful. He urged the government to investigate the incident and arrest the perpetrators.

    Key opposition leaders Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and Amrullah Saleh came hard on the government. Amid anti-government slogans, Abdullah said: "Karzai must tell the people who the killer of Rabbani is?"

    He claimed the authorities had disconnected microphones so people's slogans could not be heard. Although they laid Rabbani to rest with due respect, they would not remain silent, the ex-foreign minister said.

    Some of the participants accused High Peace Council Secretary Masoom Stanikzai and member Rahmatullah Wahidyar of involvement in Rabbani's assassination. The slain leader's angry supporters cried "death to America, death to Pakistan, death to Karzai."

    In a bid to prevent possible insurgent attacks, thousands of policemen, some in armoured vehicles, and intelligence operatives lined the city streets. A virtual security blanket was thrown around the Wazir Akbar Khan area, where cars were banned and pedestrians frisked.

    Taking a dig at the rulers, the ex-chief of the National Directorate of Security said: "The present system does not represent us. The incumbent government is not authorised to negotiate peace with the enemy. Long live our people's national resistance!"

    But deputy presidential spokesman, Hamid Ilmi, told Pajhwok Afghan News the main goal was Rabbani's funeral, which was attended by senior government officials at the Presidential Palace.

    He added that the burial was an issue for Rabbani's family and the government extended them all possible cooperation. "Prof. Rabbani led a political party and each party has its own ideas…"

    Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, Ministry of Defence spokesman Zahir Azimi, Energy and Water Minister Ismail Khan, Rural Rehabilitation and Development Jarullah Mansoori and ex-jihadi commanders participated in the rites.

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