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Pakistan students protest against Khan arrest

world Updated: Nov 15, 2007 15:20 IST

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About 3,000 students rallied at a university in Pakistan on Thursday, a day after cricket legend Imran Khan was arrested there and later charged under anti-terror legislation.

The demonstration took place at the Punjab University campus in the eastern city of Lahore, where Khan was seized by an Islamist youth group and turned over to police on Wednesday, an AFP reporter witnessed.

The flag-waving protesters chanted "We love you Imran Khan" and shouted slogans against the radicals, who were from the Islami-Jamiat-Tuliba (IJT) group -- the student wing of the hardline Jamaat-e-Islami party.

"Our protest is against the high handedness of IJT and the police. We have gathered to express solidarity with Imran Khan, he is our national hero," demonstrator Sarida Asgar told AFP.

Dozens of police stood guard outside the campus but did not intervene.

Khan was moved to Lahore's biggest prison early Thursday after being charged under a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act which stipulates a punishment of at least seven years and up to life in prison.

He was put under house arrest but slipped the net and had been in hiding -- communicating via email and video -- until Wednesday, when he reappeared at a university campus in the eastern city of Lahore.

Lahore police chief Malik Mohammad Iqbal told AFP Wednesday after Khan was arrested that he would be charged for inciting people to pick up arms, calling for civil disobedience and "spreading hatred."

Khan, who led Pakistan to cricket World Cup glory in 1992, had called for President Pervez Musharraf to face the death penalty after the military ruler imposed emergency rule on November 3.