Police and her party said Bhutto was detained for seven days, just hours before she was due to lead a mass protest against President Pervez Musharraf's emergency rule. She was reportedly due to join a 3-4 day motorcade protest from Lahore to Islamabad to demand Musharraf end emergency rule he imposed on November 3 and free thousands of detained opponents.
It also came shortly after the Attorney General of Pakistan Malik Qayyum told BosNewsLife that the Supreme Court would likely resume hearing petitions challenging the presidency of General Pervez Musharraf next, adding that the high profile case could be decided as early as by the weekend.
He said two more judges are being added to the bench to restore its original strength of 11 as it was before the proclamation of the state of emergency. He said that names of the judges are yet to be finalized, but stressed that "both judges would be appointed purely on the merit."
Yet, news of Bhutto’s detention overshadowed his comments and underscored international concerns that a return to democracy may be postponed. Bhutto’s absence at upcoming demonstrations also came as a major blow for several church groups and Christian leaders who see her as a potential beacon of hope for Christians and other religious minorities in areas where Islamic extremism is rising.
In a statement obtained by BosNewsLife, the Christian-leaning advocacy group Rays Of Development (ROD) said it and other organizations and churches would observe a "special prayer and fasting day" on November 12 for persecuted Christians and detained activists.
"We’ll ask God to bless us and protect us, churches and other Christian institutions from radical suicide bomber," said (ROD) Chairman Ferhan Mazher. “We’ll pray for the security and prosperity of Pakistan as well [and] for the safety of detained Christian political activists and human rights activists [as well as] government agencies."
He told church officials during a gathering at the Maghoo Memorial Pentecostal Church in Chak village of Sargodha municipality that "all attempts of the government has been nose-dived and a wave of insecurity and terror is haunting the nation." He said "terrorists are attacking the churches, Christian residential areas," as well as military and other important government infrastructure.