Sweeps in Pakistan

Arrested for “spreading hatred”? Sounds frighteningly arbitrary and subjective. From UPI, July 20:

Pakistan arrests 200 extremist suspects
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has detained more than 200 suspected Islamic militants in a new security crackdown this week.

The government of President Pervez Musharraf was responding to international pressure after the discovery that three of the four British-born suicide bombers who killed 56 people and wounded 700 more in four attacks on the London underground rail and bus systems July 7 were of Pakistani ethnic origin and had spent time there in recent years.

“Today the security forces have carried out operations and arrested about 200 people from all over the country,” said Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao, who vowed that the arrests under anti-terrorism laws would continue. “They have been arrested because they were spreading hatred … which was causing unrest in society. We want peace in Pakistan and we want progress.”

Security forces raided Islamic schools, or madrassas, and other buildings across the country, Pakistani newspapers reported.

Police sources and officials said among those arrested in the overnight raids were 16 suspects in Islamabad, 65 in Punjab province, 52 in Sindh province, 40 in North West Frontier province and 30 in Baluchistan province.

Musharraf has escaped at least two assassination attempts by Islamists and is expected to address the nation on television Thursday to announce new measures to stop extremist preaching at Islamic schools.

See our last posts on the London bombings and on Pakistan.