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Pakistan opposition targeted

September 23, 2007|From the Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Police swept the Pakistani capital Saturday to arrest the leaders of opposition parties vowing to obstruct President Pervez Musharraf's reelection bid, officials said.

Security officials said police in Islamabad had orders to take about 35 opposition leaders into preventive custody, many of them linked to ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif or to a coalition of Islamist parties opposed to the president's alliance with the United States.

Police served a warrant on Javed Hashmi, acting leader of Sharif's party, at an apartment complex for lawmakers. The warrant said he would be jailed for 30 days to stop him from making inflammatory speeches at rallies.

Hashmi said Musharraf's Western backers should press the military-led government to uphold the same democratic standards that they enjoy.

"They are ruling the country with the gun in hand," Hashmi said at his apartment. He said at least 15 other opposition politicians were detained.

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