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November 8, 2007

Imran Khan flees house arrest, goes into hiding

Lahore

November 8, 2007

LONDON: Imran Khan, the leader of Tehrik-e-Insaf, released a statement through his ex-wife, saying he had fled house arrest and gone into hiding.

Jemima Khan, Imran Khan’s ex-wife, released a statement in which he said he was first placed under house arrest at his home in Lahore on Saturday. He said police ransacked his house and roughed up his family. He escaped before they returned to take him to jail.

He said he was in hiding for fear of reprisals from General Musharraf’s government. “They are using sheer force against lawyers, human rights organizations, political activists and all genuine opposition leaders are in jail,” Khan wrote in the e-mail statement. “The police have ransacked my house and ill treated my family members.”

Imran Khan went on to accuse former prime minister Benazir Bhutto of secretly working with Musharraf because she was also threatened by the judiciary. “Her party has not been touched by the authorities,” Imran said.

He warned that Musharraf’s move will only ignite more extremism. “When you suppress democratic forces, then the only way to resist is through militancy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan made a haggard-looking appearance in a video issued from hiding on Wednesday, calling for protests against President Pervez Musharraf’s state of emergency.

Imran went underground on Sunday, a day after police placed him under house arrest at his home in Lahore.

“If we don’t resist, it will take Pakistan on the path of destruction,” Khan said in the short video message broadcast on Geo television. He was filmed against a plain grey background and was unshaven, speaking animatedly into the camera.

“Imran is safe. From an unknown place he is leading the movement,” said retired Admiral Jawaid Iqbal, a spokesman for PTI.

“For his security we are not disclosing his location. But he will soon be with the people of Pakistan. The situation in

Pakistan is worse than Iraq at the moment,” Iqbal added. —Agencies

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