Accessibility links

Pakistan's Bhutto Placed Back Under House Arrest


Pakistani police placed opposition leader Benazir Bhutto back under house arrest late Monday, as the British Commonwealth gave Pakistan 10 days to lift emergency rule or face suspension.

The two-time prime minister planned to lead a mass rally Tuesday from Lahore to Islamabad to pressure President Pervez Musharraf to restore the constitution and resign as army chief of staff.

But the Lahore police chief Aftab Cheema said rallies and protests are banned under the state of emergency and that police received intelligence of a possible attack at the rally.

Authorities deployed prison staff and hundreds of policemen outside the house where Ms. Bhutto is currently staying.

Foreign ministers of the Commonwealth of Britain and its former colonies meeting in London gave Pakistan until November 22 to restore its constitution and lift the emergency rule or face suspension.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon also said the government must lift curbs on the press and create favorable conditions for free and fair elections.

The Associated Press late Monday quoted the Pakistani High Commission in London as saying Islamabad's decisions would not be made according to deadlines "imposed from the outside."

President Bush and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Pakistan to lift emergency rule to ensure free and fair elections.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino added General Musharraf also must shed his army uniform because President Bush thinks the general cannot be both president and the chief of the army.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

XS
SM
MD
LG