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Pakistan and India hold ceremony despite bomb attack

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A Pakistani girl, Toba Ali, mourns over the lifeless body of her father, who was killed in a suicide bombing, in Lahore, Pakistan

A Pakistani girl, Toba Ali, mourns over the lifeless body of her father, who was killed in a suicide bombing, in Lahore, Pakistan

A Pakistani girl, Toba Ali, mourns over the lifeless body of her father, who was killed in a suicide bombing, in Lahore, Pakistan

INDIA and Pakistan solemnly lowered their national flags at a dusk military ceremony on their main land border crossing yesterday, a day after a suicide attack killed almost 60 people on the Pakistani side.

India's home ministry had earlier said that the daily flag-lowering ceremony would be suspended as a mark of respect for the dead - the first time the parade would have been called off since the two countries went to war in 1971.

But later Pakistani officials changed their mind, deciding to go ahead with the ritual to send a message to the militants.

Just before dusk, at least 2,000 women, men and children gathered at the parade ground on the border crossing, some chanting "Death to terrorists" and "Long live Pakistan". On the Indian side, there were only a handful of spectators.

The colourful show, where border guards in elaborate uniforms goose-step, shake hands brusquely across the borderline and scowl aggressively at each other, proceeded as usual amid heightened security.

At least 57 people were killed and 110 wounded when the explosion ripped through a car park about 500m from Pakistan's border gate just as hundreds of people left the daily performance.

At least two Pakistani Taliban splinter groups have claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for the army's military operation against insurgents in the tribal region of North Waziristan.

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