Islamabad, Nov 9: Former premier Benazir Bhutto has been put under house arrest hours before she was due to lead and address a rally against a state of emergency, government officials have said.
"She is being placed under house arrest," a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.
An eyewitness saw a magistrate entering her house in Islamabad, apparently with the arrest order, while dozens of police cordoned off the street outside.
Earlier, Bhutto came down heavily against President General Pervez Musharraf vowing to hold the general election by mid-February and termed it 'insufficient '.
Protesting against Musharraf staying as the Chief of Army Staff as well as President, Bhutto said, "We want an exact election date, schedule of elections and a clear date of Musharraf hanging up his uniform."
Bhutto had warned Musharraf to lift the state of emergency in the country and announce free and fair elections, otherwise the party"s November 9 election rally in Rawalpindi would turn into a protest demonstration.
"This is yet another vague announcement. We want him to hang up his uniform by November 15," she added.
Bhutto, who met the envoys of United Arab Emirates and China, said that the imposition of emergency is hurting the country's image in the international world.
Meanwhile, he US State Department has backed former Bhutto"s call for mass protests against the emergency rule, saying that people should have the right to express themselves.
Commenting on Bhutto"s call for street protests, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said: "There should be a right for people to express themselves."
McCormack rejected concerns that Bhutto"s call would spark further violence, The News reported.