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Pakistani Police Arrest Former Cricket Star, Opposition Leader, Imran Khan


Pakistani police have arrested former cricket star and opposition politician Imran Khan, after he made his first public appearance since the imposition of emergency rule.

Khan came out of hiding to address a student rally Wednesday at Punjab University in the eastern city of Lahore. Shortly after arriving on campus, Khan was arrested.

He has been charged under the country's anti-terror act, which includes penalties such as the death sentence or life imprisonment.

Former Prime Minister and top opposition leader Benazir Bhutto remains under house arrest in Lahore. A spokeswoman, Sherry Rehman, for her Pakistan People's Party says Ms. Bhutto is now talking to other opposition politicians about forming a united front against the state of emergency and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he is ready to work with Ms. Bhutto. In an interview with VOA, Deewa Radio, Mr. Sharif said it is hard for the opposition to form a united front since most of its leaders are behind bars.

Meanwhile, President Musharraf continues to resist calls to end emergency rule, telling British media, Sky News, in an interview that he will stay in power as long as Pakistan is in turmoil. General Musharraf also defended his decision to hold parliamentary elections under emergency rule during an appearance Wednesday on state television. He said it was the only way to ensure a free and fair vote.

General Musharraf has promised the ballot will take place before January 9.

Sporadic protests against emergency rule have continued. Wednesday in Islamabad, about 100 lawyers marched through the capital calling for the restoration of the constitution, which has been suspended under emergency rule.

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

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