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Pakistani Authorities Release More Political Detainees, Including Former Cricket Star


Hundreds of Pakistani political activists, including former cricket star and opposition leader Imran Khan, were released from prison Wednesday.

The Pakistani government says it has freed more than 5,000 lawyers and opposition members who have been detained under emergency rule.

Officials say another 623 activists remain in custody.

Separately, Pakistan's attorney general says President Pervez Musharraf may quit his post as army chief in the coming days.

Attorney General Malik Qayyum told reporters Wednesday if the Supreme Court dismisses the final challenge to General Musharraf's re-election victory, he could step down as head of the military as early as Saturday.

President Musharraf has repeatedly promised to abandon the army post as soon as the Supreme Court clears the way for his October re-election victory to be declared official.

The president's hand-picked Supreme Court has already dismissed five of six legal challenges.

President Musharraf has been under intense international pressure led by the United States to abandon his army post, hold free and fair parliamentary elections and lift emergency rule.

Also, Pakistan's caretaker prime minister, Muhammadmian Soomro lobbied top officials from the British Commonwealth not to go ahead with a threat to suspend Pakistan from the 53-member bloc.

Commonwealth foreign ministers are considering the move because of the Pakistan government's imposition of emergency rule.

Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman, Mohammad Sadiq said the Commonwealth should delay the decision.

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

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