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Old Sunday, September 23, 2007
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Default Police target Pakistan opposition

Police target Pakistan opposition

Police in Pakistan have detained key opposition figures who vowed to disrupt President Pervez Musharraf's bid for re-election, officials say.

Dozens of warrants for preventative custody had been issued, officials say.

Two of the key targeted groups are the PML-N party of former PM Nawaz Sharif and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, an alliance of hardline Islamist parties.

"These are preventative detentions for the maintenance of public order," a senior police official told AFP agency.

"We have detained these people to prevent the holding of a protest rally in front of the Supreme Court, which would invite trouble because of the prevailing security threat," he said.


Among those arrested was Javed Hashmi, acting leader of the PML-N, the party of exiled former PM Sharif.

Mr Hashmi said Gen Musharraf's Western backers should press the military-led government to uphold the same democratic standards that they enjoy.

"They are ruling the country with a gun in hand," Mr Hashmi said at his apartment, where four armed police stood guard outside.

"They think that the [military] uniform, not the people of Pakistan, are the source of power."

Also detained was Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, from the radical Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam.

Opposition parties have vowed to disrupt Gen Musharraf's attempt to be re-elected by federal and provincial assemblies for a fresh term in office.

Among the tactics included are resignations from the assemblies, mass demonstrations and an attempt to blockade the Election Commission to prevent Gen Musharraf from filing his nomination papers.

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