Pakistani Islamist leader dies

DATELINE: ISLAMABAD, Dec 11

The head of Pakistan’s powerful Islamist alliance Maulana Shah Ahmed Noorani
died Thursday, aged 78, of a severe heart attack, hospital officials said.

The president of the six-party Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) alliance passed
away at home during a severe cardiac seizure. His assistants rushed his body
to Islamabad’s Polyclinic hospital but doctors were unable to revive him.

“Maulanai Noorani was brought to the hospital a lifeless state at 12:35
(0735 GMT) and we struggled for 45 minutes to revive him,” doctor Inamul Haq
told AFP.

Noorani, who headed the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, won a seat in the upper
house in elections last year, when the MMA shocked observers with their
massive vote surge. The alliance won power in two provincial parliaments and
dominates the opposition in the federal legislature.

Noorani’s sudden death is likely to deal a tough blow to the Islamist
parties as they battle with President Pervez Musharraf’s government over his
sweeping self-appointed powers and the army’s political power.

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