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PPP's rally starts without Bhutto

Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, the president of the Punjab unit of the PPP, led the march with 110 vehicles and thousands of followers, party spokesperson Sherry Rehman said.

world Updated: Nov 13, 2007 15:29 IST

Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party on Tuesday started its "long march" against the emergency rule with a convoy of over 100 vehicles moving towards capital Islamabad without the former premier who was placed under house arrest in Lahore on Tuesday.

Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, the president of the Punjab unit of the PPP, led the march with 110 vehicles and thousands of followers, party spokesperson Sherry Rehman said.

Qureshi had met Bhutto earlier this morning. Rehman, who was with Bhutto in the home of PPP Senator Latif Khosa that has been surrounded by hundreds of policemen, said: "They are walking towards Kasur and have reached Mustafabad while tyres burn all over Lahore in protest at the detention of Mohtarma Bhutto and the mass arrests of PPP workers across Punjab.

"Women parliamentarians are being picked up and inhumanly treated while the massive police presence outside Khosa's house is growing to unprecedented numbers," she alleged.

Qureshi said the PPP had decided last night that other leaders would lead the march if Bhutto was detained. "If I am arrested, some other leader should take up the baton of democracy and take it forward," he told Dawn News channel.
Bhutto was placed under house arrest for seven days after midnight to prevent her from taking part in the rally.