Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pakistani Authorities Charge Opposition Leader and Former Cricket Star Imran Khan

Pakistani authorities have charged former cricket star and opposition politician Imran Khan under the country's anti-terror act, which includes penalties such as life imprisonment.

Khan was arrested Wednesday, shortly after arriving for a rally at Punjab University in the eastern city of Lahore. It was his first public appearance since the imposition of emergency rule.

In a separate development, Pakistani opposition politicians are considering plans to form a united front against the state of emergency and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

A spokeswoman for the Pakistan People's Party, Sherry Rehman, says former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is now talking to other opposition politicians. Exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he is ready to work with Ms. Bhutto, who remains under house arrest in Lahore.

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, General Musharraf continues to resist calls to end emergency rule.

The president told British media, Sky News, 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 ninth.

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 provided by AFP and Reuters.