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Imran issues video message from hiding

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan calls for protests against President Musharraf's state of emergency.

world Updated: Nov 07, 2007 20:42 IST

Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan made a haggard-looking appearance in a video issued from hiding on Wednesday, calling for protests against President Pervez Musharraf's state of emergency.

Khan, who led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 cricket World Cup, went underground on Sunday, a day after police placed him under house arrest at his home in the eastern city of Lahore.

"If we don't resist, it will take Pakistan on the path of destruction," Khan said in the short video message broadcast on private Geo television. It did not say how it obtained the tape.

He was filmed against a plain grey background and was unshaven, speaking animatedly into the camera.

"Imran is safe. From an unknown place he is leading the movement," said retired Admiral Jawaid Iqbal, a spokesman for Khan's Movement for Justice party.

"For his security we are not disclosing his location. But he will soon be with the people of Pakistan. The situation in Pakistan is worse than Iraq at the moment," Iqbal added.

Khan sent an email to media on Monday, accusing army general Musharraf of using "sheer force" against lawyers, human rights groups and political activists and throwing opposition leaders in jail.

"The police have ransacked my house and ill-treated my family members," he said in a statement published by Britain's Press Association news agency alongside comments from his ex-wife, the socialite Jemima Khan.

Jemima Khan said police ransacked her ex-husband's home and "roughed up" his family. "He managed to escape just before they returned with an arrest warrant to cart him off to Kot Lakpat jail.