Pakistan Ex-PM Sharif Defies House Arrest as Violence Escalates
Nawaz Sharif, the leader of Pakistan's opposition who served as the prime minister of Pakistan for two terms in the early 1990s, has defied an order of house arrest amidst growing political instability in the country that has turned to riots and violent protest in the streets of Lahore.
UPDATE | 04:00pm PST -- Thousands of protesters took to the streets as Mr. Sharif defied his house arrest, knocked down barricades outside his home, and led a "long march" into the streets of Lahore that has now turned into escalating street violence.
Police clashed with stone-throwing protesters today as opposition politician Nawaz Sharif defied a house-arrest order and denounced what he called the government's creation of a "police state."
Pakistan's burgeoning political crisis has alarmed Western governments, who fear the power struggle will sideline efforts to rein in a growing Islamic insurgency. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton separately telephoned Sharif and President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday in an effort to calm the situation, but street violence was escalating.
PREVIOUSLY | March 15, 2009 -- Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League (PLM-N), wants judges fired by the former administration to be reinstated.
The issue has become a focal point of a struggle between Sharif and Pakistan's current President Asif Ali Zardari.
Zardari, who is the widom of the assassinated former PM Benazir Bhutto, promised to reinstate the judges last year but has failed to do so.
Pakistan opposition leader Nawaz Sharif has defied an apparent bid to put him under house arrest in Lahore ahead of a "march" on the capital Islamabad.
Thousands of supporters joined him after he broke through a police barricade of his home to reach a rally.
Police fired tear gas as protesters hurled stones.
Sharif activists later managed to overcome barriers blocking access to the main highway to Islamabad and Mr Sharif left Lahore in a convoy.
The Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) supporters plan a "long march" to the capital to demand judges sacked by the former government be reinstated.