Pakistan Bans Protest, Arrests Opposition Workers

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2009 12:05 PM CDT
Pakistan Bans Protest, Arrests Opposition Workers
Pakistani police officers hold their weapons as they escort the convoy of Shahbaz Sharif, brother of Nawaz Sharif, March 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Pakistan’s government began cracking down on the opposition today in ways reminiscent of deposed dictator Pervez Musharraf, the New York Times reports. Police arrested hundreds of political workers today, and the government banned a protest national march scheduled for tomorrow, declaring that demonstrators wouldn’t be allowed into Islamabad. Organizer Nawaz Sharif says the march will go ahead anyway, and many fear violence could erupt.

President Asif Ali Zardari has issued an ordinance banning gatherings of more than four people, and says he must ban Sharif’s march to preserve the rule of law. Supporters of Sharif’s Muslim League-N say police have called warning them to stay home or in their offices lest they be arrested. But Sharif thinks his people will take to the streets, “so we can save Pakistan.” (More Pakistan stories.)

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