Islamists held for vowing to block marathon
Sixty MMA supporters were also detained in Multan for threatening to block a planned mixed-sex marathon.india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 18:54 IST
Police detained 160 supporters of an Islamic group in two different cities of eastern Pakistan on Friday for threatening to block a planned mixed-sex marathon, police and witnesses said.
Nearly 100 people, including students, were rounded up from the eastern city of Lahore, where they had gathered to reassure the government to cancel the marathon in Lahore on Sunday, said Amir Zulifquar, the city police chief.
Sixty supporters of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) or United Action Forum were also detained in Multan, a main city in the Punjab province.
"We are detaining members o MMA to prevent them from disrupting the Sunday's marathon," said Zulifquar.
He said police would not allow anyone to disrupt this road race.
"We will provide protection to the participants."
However, MMA condemned the arrests, saying its supporters were peaceful and that they were only expressing concern against the mixed-sex races.
"We condemn the arrest of our people," said Hudayat Pasruri, a leader of MMA in Multan.
Police later also spotted Pasruri standing among some MMA supporters in Multan and whisked him to an unknown police in a van.
Last year, MMA's some leaders and supporters -- who regard women's participation in sports as against Islam -- had pelted participants of a foot-race with stones in Gujranwala, an industrial city in the Punjab province, prompting police to arrest dozens of them.