Pakistan Arrests Opposition Leader to Block Protests: Report

Bloomberg News March 15, 2009

Pakistan Arrests Opposition Leader to Block Protests By James Rupert and Farhan Sharif

Pakistani police detained former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, blockaded highways and cities and put army troops on alert to break up a planned protest tomorrow in Islamabad.

Police surrounded Sharif’s home in Lahore, put him under house arrest for three days and detained scores of other leaders of his Pakistan Muslim League, said party spokesman Pervez Rashid. The government blockaded central Lahore and Islamabad, tightening its crackdown on nationwide protests to demand the restoration of dismissed judges who are supported by Sharif.

President Asif Ali Zardari “may prevent us from protesting in Islamabad tomorrow, but we will simply re-organize and renew our protest in a few days,” said Rai Muhammad Salim Raza Kharal, one of a few Muslim League activists who managed to reach the main rally venue in Lahore. Zardari “will face a long period of protest now,” he said, shortly before police fired tear gas to disperse rock-throwing demonstrators nearby.

Zardari’s use of force to quell protest and growing dissent in his Pakistan Peoples Party, are “deepening his credibility deficit and leaving his government […]

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Islamic states at UN: Criminalize Defamation of Islam

JPost.com » International » Article

Mar 12, 2009 22:01 | Updated Mar 13, 2009

Islamic states: Criminalize defamation of Islam By MAYA SPITZER

The Islamic states circulated a new resolution at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday that would criminalize defamation of Islam as a human rights violation and encourage the imposition of Shari’a.

According to the nonbinding governmental resolution, titled “Combating Defamation of Religions,” anything deemed insulting to Islamic sensitivities would be banned as a “serious affront to human dignity” and a blatant violation of religious freedom.

The resolution would attempt to influence “local, national, regional and international levels” to incorporate such guarantees of this perceived freedom in their “legal and constitutional systems.”

“It is a covert package coordinated by Pakistan against the West,” said Leon Saltiel, director of communications at the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, on Thursday. “They think there is too much liberty and freedom of expression in the Western world, which therefore defames religion.”

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