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Pakistan ex-PM blocked from leading protest march against emergency rule

[JURIST] Pakistani riot police blocked former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [personal website] from leading a planned 160-mile march from Lahore to Islamabad Tuesday protesting President Pervez Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule [PDF text; JURIST news archive]. Bhutto was placed under house arrest for seven days early Tuesday when riot police used barbed wire and dump trucks loaded with sand to barricade her home. Police also arrested members of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party [party website] who tried to cross the barricade to reach Bhutto, as well as hundreds of party members throughout Lahore. While under house arrest, Bhutto confirmed with reporters that she is no longer speaking with Musharraf, either directly or indirectly, and that her party may boycott the January parliamentary elections [CBC report] if Pakistan is still under the emergency decree. Bhutto also called for Musharraf to resign as president.

The government of Pakistan said Monday that the planned march violated the proclamation of emergency rule [JURIST report], foreshadowing Tuesday's block. Musharraf said Sunday that parliamentary elections will take place in January, but set no time limit to the emergency [JURIST report]. The New York Times has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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