Pakistan bars ex-PM Bhutto from staging protest against emergency rule

[JURIST] The government of Pakistan said Monday that a Tuesday protest march planned by former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [personal website] violates the declaration of emergency [PDF text] announced by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official website; BBC profile] and will not be allowed to take place. The protesters would have marched from the city of Lahore to the capital of Islamabad, but the government said that all such political gatherings are presently illegal. Bhutto has also announced plans to boycott the January parliamentary elections [CBC report] unless Musharraf steps down as military chief and ends the declaration of emergency rule, saying that fair elections are impossible under the current state of emergency.

Musharraf said Sunday that the parliamentary elections will take place, but set no time limit to emergency rule [JURIST report]. That same day, two Pakistani bar leaders warned [JURIST report] that Musharraf's government is drafting papers to get the declaration of emergency and Provisional Constitution Order [text] validated by the new Supreme Court installed by Musharraf. AP has more.

5:51 PM ET - Bhutto was subjected to a seven-day house arrest order Tuesday morning local time in an effort to prevent the protest march from taking place, though one of her aides told AP that as the government has not personally served the detention order to Bhutto or her representatives, it is not binding. The aide said that Bhutto would try to lead the march despite the order. AP has more.


 

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