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Pakistan top lawyer again put under house arrest

[JURIST] Pakistani Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan [PILDAT profile] was detained Saturday at the Lahore airport after attempting to board a plane for the Sindh province [official website], where he planned to visit the grave of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], who was assassinated [JURIST report] at a campaign rally in December. Ahsan was subsequently put under house arrest and Sindh Home Minister Akhtar Zamin said Ahsan's detention was necessary to avoid any disruption to the election process, with general elections slated for Feb. 18. Ahsan said his detention was illegal and accused the national government of issuing the order.

Ahsan served as a lawyer on the defense team for ousted Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [JURIST archive] in early 2007. His detention Saturday comes just two days after he was released from three months of house arrest. He was first detained in a security sweep [JURIST report] after Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf's November 3 declaration of emergency rule [text; JURIST report]. Before being re-arrested, Ahsan renewed his call for Musharraf's resignation [JURIST report]. The new house arrest order confines him to his home in the Punjab province for 30 days. AP has more.

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