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Pakistan government detains hundreds of lawyers, rights activists in security sweep

[JURIST] Pakistani police and security services detained hundreds of lawyers, rights activists and opposition figures Saturday and Sunday in a clampdown following President Pervez Musharraf's Saturday proclamation of emergency rule [JURIST report]. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Sunday that up to 500 people had been arrested in the previous 24-hour period. Among the current detainees are former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (reportedly under house arrest after being dismissed from office [JURIST report] Saturday), Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan [Post report], and Asma Jehangir, chairman of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [advocacy website]. Jehangir was detained Sunday after some 200 police reportedly stormed the commission's Lahore headquarters, arresting some 50 activists. Sindh High Court Bar Association President Abrar Hasan and Malir Bar Association President Zahoor Mehr were also arrested as police conducted raids on lawyers' houses. Other prominent lawyers were arrested in Peshawar and Quetta.

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