Islamabad, Nov 4: Pakistan police placed leading opposition figure and former cricket star Imran Khan under house arrest today, hours after President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule citing militancy and a hostile judiciary. Khan, who captained his cricket-mad country to victory in the 1992 World Cup, had earlier urged Pakistanis to take to the streets to protest against Musharraf's action.
''Imran Khan has been put under house arrest while (opposition lawyers) Munir A. Malik and Aitzaz Ahsan were arrested under a one-month detention order,'' Khan's close aide and senior lawyer Hamid Khan told Reuters.
Several private Pakistan news channels were taken off the air as emergency rule was imposed. The plug was pulled just as Khan made his appeal for protests.
''I ask people to come out on the streets. We will ask lawyers, political parties to come out on the streets,'' Imran Khan told Geo News.
Khan's political party has little support, but he is a high profile and respected opposition figure. Educated at England's elite Oxford University, his sporting past makes him a high profile figure internationally.
Khan, speaking after his house arrest, told CNN that Musharraf was squarely to blame for Pakistan's problems and said emergency rule would not help.
''He never said how is he through the emergency going to do things that are any different. He was the absolute ruler, he had absolute control so what was the impediment in his way to fight militancy and terrorism''.
Khan was believed to be in the city of Lahore where he has a residence. His main home is just outside Islamabad.