- Pakistani police have reportedly arrested at least 500
activists from the country's three leading Islamic organisations in an
attempt to prevent further protests against the ongoing US attacks on neighbouring
The activists were arrested near the Jacobobad air base, a site that the
Pakistani leader has allowed the US to use in its war against Afghanistan.
In recent days, hundreds of thousands of Pakistani protestors have taken
to the streets to protest at their Government's support for the US attacks.
In another move to prevent anti-government and anti-US protests, the leader
of the Jamiat e-Islami party, the largest political party in Pakistan,
was blocked today as he tried to board a plane to join the Jacobobad protests.
Anticipating moves to prevent his travel, Qazi Hussain Ahmed arrived at
Lahore International Airport for his flight to Jacobobad backed by hundreds
of angry, chanting supporters.
Police at the airport presented him with a written Government order forbidding
him to fly to the southern city.
Speaking afterwards, Ahmed said: "The days of this Government are
numbered and President Musharraf will no longer be in power after a few
The two-week old US war in Afghanistan has created huge headaches for the
unstable Pakistani regime.
President Pervez Musharraf seized power in a bloodless military coup in
1999, but he does not command the support of many Pakistanis.
Some opinion polls from the country say only 15 to 20% of the population
support Musharraf's backing of the US attacks on the Afghan population.
Pakistan's hardline Islamic parties, mainly comprised of Sunni Muslims,
have sectarian and ethnic ties to the Afghans and could attempt to seize
power from Musharraf if support for the US war continues to dwindle.