Karachi, Sep 12: Pakistani cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan was expelled from the city of Karachi today shortly after arriving on a domestic flight to launch an anti-government campaign, a government official said.
Khan, a hugely popular captain of Pakistan's national cricket team in the late 1980s and early 1990s, heads his own small political party, which is opposed to the rule of President Pervez Musharraf.
''He wanted to hold a rally in Karachi which is banned since Section 144 was imposed here on September 10,'' said Waseem Akhtar, a provincial government interior ministry adviser, referring to a law banning demonstrations.
''He has been sent back in order to maintain public order,'' Akhtar told Reuters. About a dozen supporters of Khan's Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement of Justice) party were detained, he said.
Khan had arrived from Islamabad and was sent back to the capital on the next flight, said his political secretary, Saifullah Niazi.
Khan is allied with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was deported on Monday, shortly after arriving in Islamabad from seven years in exile, vowing to end army chief Musharraf's rule.
Later that day, Khan announced he was going to launch his anti-government campaign in Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city.
It was the second time this year Khan was banned from Karachi. In May, he was barred from Sindh province, of which Karachi is capital, after calling the London-based leader of the political party that runs Karachi ''a terrorist''.
Many city residents and opposition politicians blamed the ruling pro-Musharraf Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party for instigating violence on May 12-13 in which about 40 people were killed.
The violence broke out when the then suspended chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, who Musharraf attempted to dismiss, tried to meet lawyers in the city.
Khan has also initiated legal proceedings in London against MQM chief Altaf Hussain, who is a British citizen, blaming him for the killings.