The government of Pakistan freed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto from house arrest (Friday), after earlier blocking her from leading a rally against emergency rule. Government officials say the detention order has been withdrawn.
Earlier, Ms. Bhutto tried twice to leave her residence in the capital, Islamabad, to attend a rally she organized against President Pervez Musharraf in nearby Rawalpindi. But she was unable to break through the barricades, barbed wires and riot police surrounding her home.
Speaking outside the house with supporters by her side, Ms. Bhutto repeated opposition demands that General Musharraf lift the state of emergency, resign as army chief and hold elections by mid-January. Ms. Bhutto also said she still plans to lead a protest march early next week from Lahore to Islamabad. In Rawalpindi, police clashed with several hundred protesters who tried to gather for the rally, defying a ban on public demonstrations.