Pakistan lifts house arrest of former PM Benazir Bhutto

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto (center), speaks to supporters outside her house.
Image: Barry Newhouse, VOA News.
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, surrounded by barb wire outside her house.
Image: Barry Newhouse, VOA News.

The government of Pakistan late on Friday has withdrawn the earlier detention notice and house arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Police had served her with a temporary detention notice and ordered her to serve 30 days of house arrest. Bhutto was not detained by the police.

The move came as Bhutto planned to attend a protest she organised today in Rawalpindi. She was stopped by troops who were ordered to surround and block off her home located in Islamabad. They then served her with a 30 day detention when she attempted to cross the blockade.

"I am trying to get out, as I want to go to Rawalpindi. I am in front of my house in my car. I have not been arrested and no arrest warrant has been served on me. Large numbers of policemen are present here and there are barb wire barricades and blockades in front of me," said Bhutto.

Police claimed that they are protecting Bhutto from a possible suicide bomb attack because "some suicide attackers have come to Islamabad," added Bhutto.

In Rawalpindi, protesters clashed with police who were enforcing a ban against public demonstrations. Bhutto has publicly announced that she will head a protest against the country's president, Pervez Musharraf, in an attempt to get him to resign as head of the country's military. A protest march from Lahore to Islamabad is scheduled for early next week.