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Pakistani prosecutor slain ahead of elections p

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Gunmen on Friday killed the lead Pakistani prosecutor in two high-profile cases -- the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and the brutal assault on civilians in Mumbai -- shocking a country reeling from Taliban attacks as it prepares for national elections.

Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali was gunned down as he drove to court in the normally quiet capital, where a concentration of diplomats, government and military officials and aid workers live. Nobody claimed responsibility for the killing, but as Ali's work put him in direct conflict with militant groups, suspicion immediately fell on them.

Ali was leading the prosecution against several suspected Taliban militants as well as former military ruler Pervez Musharraf for alleged roles in the 2007 Bhutto assassination. He was also prosecuting militants linked to the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, India.

The lawyer was on his way to a court in Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad, when gunmen shot him in the head, shoulder and chest, and then fled, said police officer Arshad Ali. Bullets hit the prosecutor at least 13 times.

The shooting in Islamabad comes as Pakistan prepares for nationwide elections May 11. Taliban militants have tried to derail the elections with a wave of shootings and bombings aimed at candidates. Also on Friday, in the southern city of Karachi, gunmen killed an anti-Taliban candidate along with his six-year-old son and a political activist.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 4, 2013 A23

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