LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) Pakistani protesters in London demonstrated today against President Pervez Musharraf's imposition of emergency ule and called for Western governments to condemn it.
Some 150 protestors at Pakistan's diplomatic mission in London chanted ''go Musharraf go'' and held signs saying ''shame on you bully'' and ''we want free media, free courts''.
The former colonial power, Britain is home to 700,000 people of Pakistani origin and on Saturday the foreign secretary said he hoped they would use their connections in Pakistan to make the case for democracy and the rule of law.
''We are showing solidarity to the people back in Pakistan, especially to human rights activists and lawyers who have been picked up, jailed, beaten and harassed,'' said protest leader Hina Jilani.
Her sister, Asma Jahangir, is chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and among hundreds of lawyers and political activists detained by police since the imposition of emergency rule on Saturday.
''It is also a call for the international community to give the strongest possible condemnation of what is happening in Pakistan.'' ''We know that the people at home are in a more difficult situation than us, and cannot protest in the streets. This is probably the only way for us to show opposition,'' said Raza Saeed, 25, a student of human rights law at Warwick University.
Pakistanis now depend on the diaspora for information because private media are shut, said protester Anita Mir, a university teacher: ''Whatever information they are getting, they are getting it from us.'' Musharraf has said he imposed the emergency to combat terrorism and extremism. But the London protesters said the rule affected mainly ordinary Pakistani citizens.
''None of the people at this protest are islamists, they are all liberal people,'' said Bilal Rana, 28, a lawyer.
REUTERS MP AS0209