WATCH: Video of Fiery Explosion in London Sidewalk

The blast is thought to have been caused by a faulty electricity cable.

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A sidewalk has exploded on a London street – and it’s not the first time it’s happened.

Footage captured by a witness in a nearby building shows a man looking at a mysterious hole in a sidewalk in the central London neighborhood of Pimlico. Witnesses then report hearing three bangs, the second of which was accompanied by flames shooting out of the hole – sending the curious bystander running for his life. “We heard this huge bang and there was black smoke everywhere,” a man who works across the street told the London Evening Standard. “Then came the second, which was like a volcano erupting from underneath the pavement, the flame was about ten feet high, it was very scary.”

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The blast, which is being investigated by the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive, is thought to have been caused by a faulty 11,000-volt underground electricity cable, reports the Standard.

Worryingly for residents, exploding sidewalks appear to be a new London trend: a string of similar cases have been reported over the last two years. In August 2011, an elderly man was reportedly confined to a wheelchair for nearly three months after an explosion blew out a manhole cover he was standing on while talking to friends, according to the Standard. He reportedly claimed negligence on the part of U.K. Power Networks, which owns and maintains the capital’s electrical grid, but the company apparently refused to speculate on what caused the explosion.

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It saddens one to realise that from among all the parties contesting the upcoming elections, there are at least three that are definitely being targeted by the extremists, who are, unabashedly, claiming responsibility for the attacks on them. It definitely puts a damper on the spirits that fellow Pakistanis are being deprived of full participation in the run up to an awaited election.

Trending Discussions However, it also infuriates the citizens of Karachi that the MQM, one of the targeted parties, brings the city to a complete halt for one whole day every time it is subjected to an attack, which is sometimes twice in a week. How can shutting down everything and depriving people from a day’s income be justified?
With each terrorist attack, however, it becomes clearer that we have no option, but fresh elections in order to get out of this mess. And if life has to move on, the exercise of elections are inevitable whatever the circumstances.
The 180 million, whatever the party affiliation, are pushing as one for change. There is a final realisation that unless things take a drastic new turn nothing good will happen and that we will remain mired in circumstances that are beyond our control.
Wars for reasons quite alien to us are being fought in our proximity and we are, sadly, so intertwined into the weaves woven far away, for reasons which have nothing to do with us, that it is going to prove difficult to begin anew. Even as we rue policies of the past that brought short-term benefits to the country, it is apparent that stepping into an altogether new direction will take a whole paradigm shift.
After having said and while acknowledging that there are some political parties under constant threat, I still feel that the major portion of the election campaign is being conducted on the electronic media through the debates and advertising campaigns, so the parties under pressure have absolutely the same opportunities available there.
Each party is selling its achievements and its promises. All with one exception. The PPP is still relying heavily on the martyrdom of BB and one is subjected round the clock to the mass display of shocked grief that was seen at the time of her tragic assassination.
While this does tug at the heartstrings, it does nothing to allay what we have seen of the PPP in power for the last five years. The populace is led up to believe that they still have a card up their sleeves vide the Benazir Income Support Programme and the vote divide between PML-N and PTI. I do hope they have no serious illusions because if they do, it is going to be one rude awakening.
Nonetheless, the concept of the original, liberal PPP remains intact and the party can recover a lot of its lost ground once new, non-family, charismatic leadership emerges from it. It is also the only party whose second ad talks about the promises its competitors could not keep. No mention of the two Prime Ministers that were at the helm and no achievements to show for them either!
The other two parties that are trying to get enough seats in the centre to form a government are the PML-N and PTI. The Sharifs have several members of their family in the contest and their campaigns, made well with sound concepts and technology, are trying to affect those who are undecided. They are selling hope by projecting the good things in their track record, but when in conversation with TV anchors, one can sense the slight nervousness and a shade of insecurity.
Pakistanis would like to hear heads of both PTI and PML-N debate issues on TV, as is done elsewhere in the world. But Mian Nawaz Sharif has decided against accepting Imran Khan’s invitation and that is being perceived negatively. While the different survey polls are so far predicting a neck to neck fight between these two parties, the edge that PTI has are the self-motivated ‘Tabdeeli Razakars’ (TRs) or ‘Volunteers for Change’.
The TRs are working feverishly in so many cities - putting up posters and going door to door to convince people to vote and telling them how to do it. It is a silent movement that may well make the ultimate difference to an election that is still being perceived as open.
The PTI ad campaigns ring with the fervour of youth too. The energy and excitement that Imran Khan manages to ignite in them is self-evident. They seem to have an abiding faith in both his incorruptibility and his ability. From the PTI platform, the words ‘Naya Pakistan’ have taken on an almost magical quality. Because it is what Pakistanis, across all divides, yearn and pray for. It is most certainly an exciting election.
Postscript: Finally, Islamabad is going to have a Literature Festival of its own on April 30 and May 1. After reading and hearing about the phenomenal successes of similar events in Karachi and Lahore, we are all so looking forward to one in the capital city. Many well known names of the literary world have been invited to attend it. A mushaira with a number of illustrious poets and readings by the inimitable Zia Mohyeddin are also a part of the itinerary. It is still glorious spring weather here and the event will afford a much needed respite. The majority in Islamabad, much like other capitals of the world, perhaps, spends their time calculating what benefits will accrue from making which acquaintance and in the extremely limiting pursuit of getting attention from the inner circles of power for personal gain. The timing of the event could not have been more perfect for the so inclined. It is happening during the brief interlude of the ineffective caretakers. So, dabbling in literature for a couple of days will be considered quite ‘OK’, before a new government is sworn in.
    The writer is a public relations and event management professional
    based in Islamabad.  


Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain said the terrorists have come down on brazen aggression against liberal and moderate parties; but the party will not surrender to them.

Trending Discussions Addressing the members of Defence-Clifton Residents Committee here via telephone, he said his party will continue its peaceful struggle against the religious fanaticism, adding Muttahida will not capitulate to the terrorists till even a single worker is alive.
The worst terrorism, he noted, is being carried out to evict the liberal, progressive and moderate parties including MQM from the electoral process.
Condemning yesterday's twin bombings in Orangi Town's area of Qasba Colony, Altaf remarked the innocent citizens have been left in lurch at the mercy of ruthless saboteurs, as law-enforcement agencies, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the caretaker government failed to provide security for the life and property of masses.
Hence, people should take the task in their own hands and make security teams to protect themselves, he added.  


The history of the Bihari refugees goes back to the partition of India in 1947. Their displacement occurred in the wake of communal violence during and in the aftermath of the partition (for example, 30,000 Muslims were killed in the ‘Great Bihar Killing’ in October-November 1947). About a million of them migrated to the eastern wing of Pakistan (East Pakistan), (Minority Rights Group, The Biharis in Bangladesh, Report 11, 4th edition, January 1982, p. 7.) mostly from the eastern Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Sikkim.

During the period of united Pakistan (1947-1971), the Urdu-speaking Biharis were not assimilated with in the society of East Pakistan and remained as a distinct cultural-linguistic group. They generally associated and identified themselves with the West Pakistani society primarily based on a shared linguistic heritage and supported the West Pakistani governing elite in the process...


Geneva Camp
Jenebhate aisiarasi's headquarters. 1972 is so named in Geneva at the camp. Liaquat Housing Society, by agreement with the camp is made on the basis of a temporary place. In 1971, he took refuge in displaced biharira Mohammadpur road, mosques, schools were abasthanarata. It is located under the Dhaka City Corporation Ward No. 45. Geneva camp population of around 30 thousand. The camp is divided into sections. And B on one side of the block. From the other side of the C (7 blocks). The largest and smallest block by block C. In 1973 aisiarasi bidiaraesa took responsibility for the camp. In 1975, the camps came under the responsibility of the Government of Bangladesh relief and rehabilitation.

Urdubhasi the community regarding the citizenship issue. They are not all Pakistanis? According to the judgment of the High Court of the biharira of 2003.


A rare picture of the long march when a hundred thousand stranded Pakistanis attempted to walk across India to Pakistan.
In that way, according Husnain, the missionaries have managed to lure eight thousand children from Mohammadpur camps to their missions over the past five years. Once at the mission the children are put to work making crafts and other things to sell to raise money. What education they do receive is Christian indoctrination.

As for World Vision, it apparently uses the camps to make films used in fundraising for the organization. None of the millions of dollars World Vision raises with those heart-wrenching documentaries ever benefits the Bihari camps.

With the Urdu language banned country wide, only in our schools can they still learn Urdu. But they come also because their children actually score higher in the examinations when they go through our school.


Biharis” is the term given to a group of non-Bengali residents and citizens of the former East Pakistan, most of whom originated from the Indian state of Bihar. Today, many “Biharis” live in Pakistan and India in addition to Bangladesh, where many remain in refugee camps and are without citizenship.

After the Mogul conquest, north Indians in Bihar and elsewhere became Muslims and, along with others who came with the Moguls as soldiers and officials, adopted Urdu as their first language. Prior to Partition in 1947, Muslims numbered about four million or 13% of the total Bihari population of 30 million; after Partition, Bihar was assigned to India and many Bihar Muslims migrated to East Pakistan. Another sizeable group of Biharis moved to East Pakistan from Calcutta, where they had gone in search of work and where they began to feel insecure because of communal killings. During Partition, there was a mass movement of peoples between India and Pakistan. Of the eight million who moved from India into Pakistan, about 1.3 million moved into the Eastern wing. Of this group, one million were Muslims from Bihar, and thus these refugees came to be known collectively as the Biharis.

On arrival in East Pakistan, the Biharis found work as small traders, clerks, civil service officials, skilled railway and mill workers and doctors. The majority were hard-working and successful and many were appointed by the Pakistani authorities to replace educated Hindus in administrative jobs and in the mills. The success of the Biharis, at the expense of the Bengali community, created a climate of hostility. The Urdu-speaking Biharis became increasingly unpopular, and were seen by Bengalis as symbols of Pakistani domination.

In the December 1970 elections, most Biharis supported the pro-Pakistan Muslim League rather than the Awami League which was largely a Bengali nationalist movement. In 1971, the promised National Assembly was postponed, and in retaliation, over 1,000 Biharis, who were seen as symbols of Pakistani domination, were reported to have been killed by Bengalis. Many Biharis fled to the Mirpur suburb of Dacca and more followed when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Awami League leader, was imprisoned and the Awami League was banned, causing a further wave of retaliatory killings. One wing of the Razakars, an auxiliary force in the Pakistani army, was made up almost entirely of Biharis, and many of these used their military position for revenge attacks on Bengalis when civil war broke out in 1971. From March to December 1971, there was widespread bloodshed, and a possible three million people were killed, most of them apparently victims of the Pakistani army. In December the Pakistani army capitulated, but this did not prevent the massacre of several hundred Bengali intellectuals, an act of violence for which the Bihari community is widely blamed.

When the independent state of Bangladesh was formed in December 1971 and the Pakistani army and civilians were evacuated to India, the Biharis were left behind. Most took refuge in enclaves and were protected, as far as possible, by the Indian army, while their shops and houses were occupied or looted and several thousand Bihari leaders were arrested. Following the withdrawal of Indian troops in January 1972, Bangladeshi troops were ordered to gather all weapons and they entered the Bihari enclave at Mirpur where they met fierce resistance. At least 100 people on either side were killed, and following this incident, several thousand Biharis were arrested as alleged collaborators and imprisoned or “disappeared”, and there were many cases of retaliation against Biharis. Sheikh Mujib had formerly called for tolerance and reconciliation but from this time on took a harder line towards the Biharis.

By mid-1972, the number of Biharis in Bangladesh was approximately 750,000. Some 278,000 of these were living in very poor conditions in camps on the outskirts of Dacca; another 250,000 were living around Saidpur in the north-west where conditions were better as Biharis outnumbered Bengalis. Reconciliation programmes were initiated and Urdu-speakers were being taught Bengali in an effort to overcome the most obvious obstacle to their acceptance by the Bengalis. However, there was a deep psychological depression and much fear of further Bengali retaliations.

The majority of the Biharis in Bengal have consistently expressed a wish to be repatriated to Pakistan. The Pakistani government initially agreed to take 83,000 Biharis — former civil servants, military and those with family in Pakistan — but later took some others. By 1974, 108,000 had been transferred to Pakistan, mainly by air, and by 1981, about 163,000. As a result, between 250,000 and 300,000 were left in camps in Bangladesh. Describing themselves as “stranded Pakistanis” some were organized into the Stranded Pakistani General Repatriation Committee which advocates militant action, such as a walk across India to Pakistan. In 1980, such a walk was stopped at the Bangladeshi frontiers. Some observers have alleged that elements in the camps have a vested interest in keeping the Biharis as a separate and distinct community, nurturing dreams of repatriation rather than constructive improvements. Conditions in the camps were still very bad for these Biharis although they were increasingly able to leave the camps in search of work.

Many feel that Pakistan has a moral obligation to take in the remaining Biharis or at least those who had remained loyal to Pakistan during the war; however, the conditions under which many Biharis live in Pakistan, mainly at Orangi outside Karachi, the lack of adequate housing or work and the growing hostility felt towards them by many Pakistanis, indicate that another large-scale influx of Biharis might create serious problems. Pakistan has agreed, in principle, to take in as many of the refugees as possible provided funds could be made available for their transport and resettlement. At a conference of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) held in 1981, 12 national and international organizations agreed to form a working party to assist the resettlement programme in collaboration with Pakistan and Bangladesh. Several Islamic states have also expressed willingness to aid in financing the operation.

However, despite these promising developments, delays in the provision of finance and political procrastination by successive Pakistani governments has prevented large-scale repatriation. Pakistan’s President Zia signed an agreement with the World Muslim League in mid-1988 providing for resettlement for the Biharis but he was assassinated one month later. The new government of Benazir Bhutto confirmed that it would agree to repatriation; however, after intense pressures from Sind nationalists these plans were shelved.

For those Biharis who remained in Bangladesh there are still difficulties. It has not been forgotten that they willingly entered into government service under the Pakistanis and as a result they came to symbolize Pakistani dominance. Most Biharis are afraid of trying to integrate into the Bengali community; yet after two generations they probably have closer cultural and economic ties with that community than they do with Pakistan. This integration cannot take place without determination on the part of the Biharis and increased good-will from the Bengalis; however, perhaps the most crucial determining factor in Bihari development will be the Bangladeshi government’s need for the skills acquired by the Biharis under Pakistani rule. Economic necessity has meant that many have left the camps but those who remain — possibly 250,000 in all — face a bleak future.