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Pak arrests lawyers, rights activists ahead of planned protest

world Updated: Mar 13, 2009 15:34 IST
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Hundreds of lawyers, rights activists and political workers were arrested in an overnight crackdown in the Pakistani capital and Punjab province ahead of a countrywide protest to press the government to reinstate judges who were sacked during the 2007 emergency.

Police and plainclothes personnel from intelligence agencies launched the crackdown late last night after the lawyers' movement and the main opposition PML-N said they were determined to go ahead with a "long march" to the federal capital on March 12.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has gone into hiding after security personnel raided his house here as part of the crackdown.

Sources in Khan's party Tehrik-e-Insaf said he had gone underground following raid on his house last night.

They said Khan is fully determined to be part of long protest march by the lawyers on March 12.

The organisers of the protest have said it will culminate with a sit-in near parliament on March 16 but interior ministry chief Rehman Malik has warned them to stay away from Islamabad, saying the government will take firm steps to prevent any breakdown of the law and order situation.

The Jamaat-e-Islami said 25 of its activists were arrested at Raiwind in Lahore while Imran Khan's Tehrik-e-Insaf party said 12 activists were detained in the eastern city.

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