Pakistan's Imran Khan begins hunger strike in jail

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LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) Prominent Pakistani opposition politician Imran Khan has begun a hunger strike in jail to protest against the imposition of emergency rule in his country, his spokesman said today.

Speaking by telephone to Britain's BBC television, Seth Niazi said Khan was prepared to go ''as far as it takes'' with the hunger strike to try to force President Pervez Musharraf to lift emergency rule.

''He is on hunger strike until the judiciary is restored to the status it was at before the imposition of emergency rule on November 3,'' Niazi said.

''Seeing that he is now locked up in jail, there is no other way of protesting -- so this is the only way and this is what he has chosen to do,'' Niazi said.

Pakistani police detained cricketer-turned-politician Khan last week after he emerged from hiding to lead a student protest against Musharraf, who declared emergency rule on November 3.

Musharraf has suspended the constitution, detained hostile judges, rounded up opponents and placed restrictions on the media.


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