Hundreds more arrested in Pakistan
Updated on 04 November 2007
Hundreds more opposition figures and lawyers have been arrested by President Musharraf in Pakistan as he tries to stifle outcry of the 'state of emergency' he imposed.
The crackdown is under way as police arrested hundreds of lawyers and human rights activists around Pakistan. The sight of the enforcers of the state of emergency turning off cameras and arresting protesters is starting to look a lot like martial law.
It was the same story in the capital Islamabad as protestors attempted to voice their disgust at the suspension of the constitution, the dismissal of senior judges and the arrests of hundreds of opposition activists.
It is more sign of the state oppression and suppression that we are going to see in the coming days and weeks'Nasheem Zahra, Human Rights activist.
Apparently it doesn't take much to get arrested under the new powers - as yet unclear to most Pakistanis. Amid rising disquiet Pakistanis urbane prime minister turned out to try smooth concerns that Pakistan is on a fast track to dictatorship.
But he found himself in a tangle - struggling to tally the new restrictions with promises of a return democracy, and elections. The state of emergency is already in a state of confusion.
Confusion too at the home of Imran khan, who had vanished after being placed under house arrest. Had he fled or been detained? No-one there could quite say.
From President Musharaff there came a plea for understanding last night during his formal declaration of the state of emergency.
Few would dispute that he has had to walk a tightrope in recent years, Torn between satisfying Western demands over the war on terror and conflicting political demands at home, he's been fighting what appears to be a losing battle with rising Islamic militancy.
For eight years the United Stated has been happy to support his de-facto military rule but even for the Bush administration his latest move was perhaps an awkward step too far.
'It is in the best interests of Pakistan to return to a constutional course for their to be an affirmation that elections will be held.'Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State
The presidents actions have also cast doubt on a much touted power-sharing deal with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who recently returned under a deal broker by Washington.
The protests so far have been small - but opposition activists and lawyers are calling for people to take to streets, en masse, from tomorrow.
If today's clampdown is anything to go by, they may not get far.
This report was compiled by Inigo Gilmore