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Rights to be restored with emergency lifting: Pakistan

world Updated: Dec 14, 2007 15:49 IST

Pakistan's attorney general pledged that basic rights would be fully restored when President Pervez Musharraf lifts his controversial state of emergency on Saturday.

Freedom of assembly, movement and expression were curbed when Musharraf imposed emergency rule last month, a move that drew heavy international criticism in the run-up to January's general elections.

Attorney General Malik Qayyum said basic restrictions would end when the emergency is lifted and that people will again be able to go the courts to challenge rights violations -- another ban that had been imposed.

But he said no legal challenges to the emergency order would be allowed.

"All fundamental rights of the citizens will stand restored with the lifting of emergency on Saturday," Qayyum told AFP.

Thousands of people were arrested in a sweeping crackdown after the president issued his emergency decree on November 3, citing what he called was an interventionist judiciary as well as the threat of Islamist violence.

Critics charge that Musharraf has used the emergency rule in part to silence his opponents ahead of the January 8 parliamentary vote, in order to try to guarantee his supporters win a majority.

Public rallies were banned and private television channels were taken off the air.

Most have since been allowed to operate again but under new regulations that forbid most kinds of live broadcasts, which the government alleges could be used to incite violence. Those regulations will be maintained.