Imran Khan detained amid anti-Bush protests
Pakistani police on Saturday put opposition politician and former cricket star Imran Khan under house arrest and detained dozens of people protesting against the visit of US President George W Bush. "I have been placed under house arrest just to appease George Bush. You would think I was Osama bin Laden the way they have treated me," Mr Khan told AFP.
Mr Khan said he was leaving a friend's house after supper at around 1:00 am local time when police served him with a detention order to stop him leading a demonstration later on Saturday in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. "The police had been following me for two days and I was planning to spend the night away from home because I knew the animal I was dealing with," he said. "When I came out from my friend's house after dinner there were four or five police cars waiting for me."
The police, holding a detention order from a magistrate, then escorted him to his lakeside house near Islamabad where they were guarding him as Mr Bush met Pakistan's military ruler Pervez Musharraf for talks. "Bush obviously agrees with Musharraf's version of democracy, which is to clamp down on anyone who protests against you," Mr Khan said. "We wanted to hold a peaceful demonstration, it was our right."
Police later used batons to break up a small demonstration in Rawalpindi by workers from Mr Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaaf, or Movement for Justice party, who were shouting: "Killer Bush, Go Back" and "Friend of Bush is a traitor". They arrested some 35 people at the scene, witnesses said.
Mr Khan, who led Pakistan to its first and only cricket World Cup title in 1992, was detained for around three hours last Sunday following another protest. He is his party's only member of parliament and has been unable to transform his massive popularity as the former captain of the cricket-crazy country's team into political success.
Posted by: Fred 2006-03-05