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Politicians, lawyers arrested across Pakistan

Former cricketer Imran Khan and several leaders have been arrested in overnight raids "without serving notice".

world Updated: Nov 04, 2007 17:13 IST
Muhammad Najeeb
Muhammad Najeeb

A large number of politicians, lawyers and rights activists have been arrested in overnight raids in different parts of Pakistan following the imposition of emergency.

Newly-elected president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Aitzaz Ahsan was among the first to be arrested on Saturday evening.

Minutes before his arrest, he told IANS that he was going into a meeting with his colleagues to discuss their future plans. "Be it martial law or emergency, we will continue our struggle against the military dictatorship," he said.

Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan and several other political leaders were also arrested. "Imran Khan was arrested from his residence in Lahore," party official Waheed said.

Khan was kept under house arrest for a couple of hours and all telephone lines to his house were disconnected. Early Sunday morning he was taken to an unidentified place, Waheed added.

The Jamaat-e-Islami religious party said that many of its leaders were put under house arrest while some were sent to police lockups and others to jail. "This has been done without serving any notices," Jamaat leader Liaqat Baloch told IANS, speaking from an unidentified location.

He said that some of their leaders have gone underground and would start a campaign against the imposition of martial law.

The Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was the most vocal in condemning the emergency. "Any country favouring this step of the military ruler will, in fact, be contributing to destabilising Pakistan," PML-N spokesman Iqbal Ahsan said.

"We strongly believe that (President Pervez) Musharraf has taken this step just to prolong his illegal tenure and he has no sincerity in returning the country to civilian rule," Ahsan added.

Many politicians said Musharraf had imposed the emergency to enable his continuance as army chief. Musharraf had previously announced that he would shed his uniform Nov 15 before taking oath as president for a second term.

"Now he will continue as army chief and will not quit," said Kabir Wasti, a disgruntled leader of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).

First Published: Nov 04, 2007 13:26 IST