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Cartoon row: Lashkar chief under house arrest

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
February 17, 2006 20:46 IST
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The Pakistan government on Friday placed Hafeez Mohammad Saeed, the founder-leader of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Tayiba, under house arrest.

Over 150 people were detained for violating a ban on rallies as fresh protests broke out in Pakistan over publication of Prophet Mohammad's images in some European newspapers.

Amid reports that the terrorist organisation and its affiliated groups were behind the massive violence during the February 14 protests in the country, Saeed was placed under house arrest.

Saeed was also barred from addressing a conference in Faisalabad on the controversy, his spokesman Yahya Mujahid said.

'Senior police officials told Hafeez Saeed on Friday morning that he will remain under house arrest. He has been barred from delivering the sermon during Friday prayers and also from addressing a conference against the publication of the blasphemous cartoons,' Mujahid said.

In Multan, where the fourth India-Pakistan one day international cricket match was played on Thursday, the police detained 125 people protesting against publication of the cartoons, defying a ban on rallies in eastern Pakistan.

In Karachi, the capital of Sindh province, the police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse about 2,000 protesters. Some 30 protesters were also detained.

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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