Reform or go to jail. Hey, whatever works. From The Associated Press, with thanks to Twostellas:
LAHORE, Pakistan: Police detained three hard-line lawmakers Thursday in an attempt to block a protest in eastern Pakistan against recent changes to the country’s Islamic rape laws, witnesses and officials said.
A six-party coalition of Islamic groups, the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) or United Action Forum, had been planning the rally for Thursday to protest new legislation they say violates Islamic law. Activists and the government of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf support the bill as protecting rape victims.
The protest, announced Wednesday by MMA president Qazi Hussain Ahmed, called for a march from the eastern city of Lahore to the nearby town of Gujrat. But late Wednesday night, the provincial government issued a statement banning rallies.
On Thursday, police detained three lawmakers from the coalition “” Liaquat Baluch, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed and Farid Piracha “” along with several supporters as they gathered for the rally, witnesses said.
Police also swung batons to disperse about 100 people who had also gathered at the rally point.
Local police official Amir Zulifquar said police were upholding the protest ban, but he refused to comment on the arrests.
Earlier, Munawar Hassan, a senior leader of the MMA, told reporters on Thursday that police had detained scores of supporters and erected barricades to block the planned march route.
Musharraf is expected to sign the bill on Dec. 4 at a special ceremony in Islamabad to make the legislation part of the constitution. But the MMA has vowed to step up its protests.