Mass protest in Pakistan defies orders
A crackdown in Pakistan on a protest and an order to detain a leading opposition leader broke down as a mass demonstration was held, The New York Times reported.
Supporters of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif gathered around his house as he defied house arrest orders in Lahore. Police did not confront protesters at that time
Sharif then headed in a car on a march towards Islamabad as many of his supporters gathered around. The march reached an area in Lahore and that is where protesters clashed with riot police.
The clash of rocks and tear gas continued until about 5 p.m., and that is when the police disappeared.
Sajjad Bhutta, chief magistrate in the Lahore government refused to carry out "illegal" acts police action.
“This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the police and civil administration have defied orders by the government to control public demonstrations,” said Ashtar Ali, a corporate lawyer who supports the Pakistan Muslim League-N.
Farahnaz Ispohani, spokeswoman for President Asif Ali Zardari said that the police action was order for the sake of security.
Zardari has drawn much criticism from banning Sharif and his brother for running for office. The move was seen as a blatantly political move to eliminate political rivals.
The New York TImes: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/16/world/asia/16pstan.html?pagewanted=2&hp