Benazir under siege, heavy security to stop her from leading the rally

November 14th, 2007 - 10:38 am ICT by admin  

A security cordon ring has been put around the residence where she is staying in the eastern city of Lahore after authorities slapped her with a seven-day detention order.

Police rounded up scores of people who tried to get near the house, which was surrounded on all four sides by double rolls of barbed wire.

Wooden barricades provided a second layer of security, and heavy containers blocked off entrances to the house and both ends of the street it lies on.

Police took up position behind sandbags at key positions. An official said there were more than 1,100 policemen around the residence, which belongs to a senior member of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

“The house has been declared a jail now,” police chief Ayaz Salim said, and prison officials were outside the house to enforce the detention order.

“They have locked the gate of the house with heavy metal chains and parked an armoured personnel carrier outside. But we will still come out,” Senator Safdar Abbasi, one of Bhutto’s senior aides said.

The “long march,” or mass procession from Lahore to the capital Islamabad, has been banned by authorities, who cited security fears.

Sherry Rehman, a senior PPP spokeswoman, said Bhutto “remains firm in her resolve to lead the long march as well as the nation out of this crisis”.

Anyone who tried to get past the cordons was quickly hauled away. Police arrested around 100 Bhutto supporters, many of them shouting “Prime Minister Benazir,” and dragged them into prison vans.

Police also picked up Syed Yousuf Gilani, a senior vice chairman of the party. “The Musharraf regime is playing a double game,” he told reporters.

Bhutto, who was all set to take out 275-kilometre Lahore-Islamabad “long march” today, has been detained at the residence of Senator Latif Khosa, The News reported.

Police officials reached Khosa’s residence with detention orders of Benazir who was confined for seven days his residence.

Benazir’s political secretary Naheed Khan earlier refused to receive the detention orders. (ANI)

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