Pakistani opposition leaders held

Arrests to halt protests against president Musharraf's re-election, officials say.

    The opposition had been holding anti-Musharraf protests [AFP]

    Hafiz told the Associated Press news agency: "This government will do anything to clear the way for the presidential election."

    "They are using the state machinery to curb the opposition."
     
    "The police raided their homes, whisked them away and took them to an unknown place," said Ahsan Iqbal, a spokesman for Sharif's party.
     
    "This is a blatant violation of their fundamental rights."

    Preventive detentions

    But a senior police official said on condition of anonymity that "these are preventive detentions for the maintenance of public order".
     

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    An alliance of pro-democracy parties has vowed to protest against military ruler Musharraf's intention to stand for another five-year term in October 6 polls.

    On Friday, an opposition alliance vowed that its politicians would resign from assemblies on September 29 to deny the presidential vote legitimacy.
     
    The parties, who have also asked the supreme court to declare Musharraf ineligible to run for another presidential term, also pledged to mount street protests.

    Anti-Musharraf lawyers said they would blockade the Election Commission to prevent the general from filing his nomination papers.

    An intelligence official said the move was in response to the threat to escalate the confrontation with the government and disrupt the election.
     
    The supreme court ruled that Sharif could return from exile to contest the elections, but when he did so nearly two weeks ago, Pakistani authorities immediately place him on a plane to Saudi Arabia.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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