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Coronavirus
VERY HIGH Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
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4224hr
Pakistan Cases
1,236,888
2,06024hr
4.58% positivity
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454,510
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Islamabad
104,913
KPK
172,766

KYIV/VILNIUS: Airlines re-routed flights to avoid Belarus's airspace on Tuesday and Belarusian planes faced a possible ban from Europe, as international outrage mounted over Minsk forcing down a jetliner and arresting a dissident journalist on board.

Western nations accused Belarus of hijacking and piracy over the interception of the Ryanair plane as it crossed the country on a flight from Greece to Lithuania, and diplomats said France, Ireland and Estonia would raise the incident at a private meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday.

"The behaviour of the Belarus regime is outrageous, illegal, and completely unacceptable ... we also condemn this kind of dangerous interference in civil aviation," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters.

A video released overnight showed 26-year-old Roman Protasevich - who was pulled from the passenger plane after Belarus scrambled a warplane to escort it to Minsk on Sunday - confessing to having organised anti-government demonstrations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the video was "concerning" and described the forced landing of the jet as "an unprecedented and unacceptable act". German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko must pay a "bitter price" for detaining Protasevich.

Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said the footage showed Protasevich had been tortured.

"He said that he was treated lawfully, but he's clearly beaten and under pressure. There is no doubt that he was tortured. He was taken hostage," she told a news conference in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

Belarus did not immediately comment on the torture allegation but has consistently denied abusing detainees.

Rights groups have documented hundreds of cases of what they describe as abuse and forced confessions during a crackdown on pro-democracy opponents of Lukashenko since last year.

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