Pakistani soldiers today began rounding up activists, lawyers and judges at gunpoint a day after President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency, suspending the constitution and banning free speech. Media and police sources say 1,500 opposition figures have been detained; Prime Minister Shaukat Aziztold reporters there have been 500 "preventive arrests," and that the measures will continue "as long as necessary."
The PM said the state of emergency had been imposed to "bring more harmony to the pillars of state" and to protect against extremism in the country, CNN reports. He said January elections could be postponed, but the leadership is still committed to democracy. Condoleezza Rice continued efforts to diffuse mounting tension in the nation, asking "all parties to act with restraint in what is obviously a very difficult situation."