( AFP ) - Two suspected suicide attacks targeting Pakistani security forces Saturday killed and wounded several people in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, the army said.
"There were two suspected suicide attacks and there are casualties," chief military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad told AFP.
"One was at a checkpost near (army) general headquarters in Rawalpindi and the other was on a bus of security forces," he added.
Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, is where military ruler President Pervez Musharraf has his army offices.
Witnesses said a burned-out bus could be seen parked just inside the gates of a military spy agency, with dozens of ambulances stationed around. Police and security forces were not allowing anyone near.
Authorities were unable to give any immediate death toll
On Friday the country hit back Friday at its suspension by the Commonwealth as "unreasonable and unjustified" and ruled that Musharraf had been justified in imposing emergency rule.
The foreign ministry said it would review relations with the Commonwealth and vowed not to bend to "unrealistic" outside pressures.
As Commonwealth leaders met in Uganda, the Supreme Court swept aside legal challenges to Musharraf's emergency rule, agreeing he had taken the step for the "welfare of the state and the people."
It came a day after the court -- now stacked with loyalist judges -- threw out the last hurdle to his re-election last month, paving the way for him to resign as army chief and become a civilian president.
His spokesman Rashid Qureshi said the military ruler was still waiting for formal written notice of the ruling, expected later Friday.
"Once this notification is received," he said, "the president will give up his appointment as chief of army staff and take oath for his next five-year term."
Attorney General Malik Muhammed Qayyum said that would happen "next week," but did not say when.
"The election schedule has also been announced, which shows that democracy is being restored in the country," he said.
The Commonwealth said it was suspending Pakistan for a second time because of a "serious violation" of the group's core values and would continue pending restoration of democracy.
The foreign ministry said the step did not take Pakistan's situation into account.
Calling the measure "unreasonable and unjustified," it said the November 3 imposition of emergency rule had been necessary to avert a "serious internal crisis" that was now returning to normal.
Progress "will be determined by ground realities and legal requirements in Pakistan rather than unrealistic demands from outside," it warned, saying it would review further cooperation with the organisation.
Pakistan was first suspended from the 53-nation grouping of mainly British former colonies in 1999 when Musharraf seized power in a bloodless coup. Its exclusion then lasted five years.
Musharraf declared the emergency citing a growing Islamic militancy and an interfering judiciary.
In dismissing challenges to the imposition, the Supreme Court essentially endorsed everything Musharraf said, agreeing terror attacks, suicide bombs and kidnappings had destabilised Pakistan and the government had been hampered by "activist" members of the judiciary.
"This is the right decision by the Supreme Court," Qayyum told AFP. "We can now hope the emergency will be lifted at the earliest."
Under intense international pressure, more than 5,000 political opponents, lawyers and party activists have since been freed from jail and elections set for January 8.
However the emergency is still firmly in place and sacked judges are under guard.
Meanwhile former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted in 1999 by Musharraf, will make a fresh attempt to return from exile in the next four or five days, a party spokesman said.
Sharif was due later Friday to meet King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, where he has been living in exile, to discuss plans for his return in time for general elections fixed for January 8.
He had flown back to Pakistan on September 10 but was swiftly deported to Jeddah by Pakistani authorities just four hours later.
Opposition leaders are split on whether to boycott the January 8 vote and will confer Saturday on a joint strategy.
Former premier Benazir Bhutto, the leader of Pakistan's largest opposition party, gave her candidates the go-ahead to file nomination papers but warned they may still pull out.
In a slight easing of restrictions, the ARYOne television news channel was back on the air after authorities lifted a ban, but there was no decision on another station, Geo News.