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Police crackdown on lawyers' protests in Pakistan

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Police crackdown on lawyers' protests in Pakistan


Tear gas was used and batons wielded by Pakistani police as they broke up rallies led by lawyers protesting at emergency rule. Security forces moved in on demonstrations in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Many lawyers were taken away.

Around 1,500 people have reportedly been arrested or placed under house arrest since President Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Saturday. He cited spiralling militancy and hostile judges to justify his action. Much of Pakistan’s population suspects other motives, notably a bid to prevent the Supreme Court ruling that his recent re-election while still army chief was invalid.

The United States is piling further pressure on Pakistan’s leader, including warnings about future funding for his country. Facing international criticism, Musharraf said today that he was determined to quit as army chief and become a civilian president. The Pakistani government has now pledged to go ahead with January’s national elections.

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