Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lawyers ready to protest

Pakistan lawyers plan to hit the streets again to demand the government quickly reinstate judges ousted by President Pervez Musharraf.

"The leadership of Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association will meet on Saturday to finalise protest plans", Munir A Malik a lawyers' protest movement leader said.

Demonstrations will likely start with a nationwide convention of lawyers in Lahore and eventually move on to the Parliament building in Islamabad. He did not give a date for the protests.

"We are absolutely prepared," he said in Hong Kong but said the lawyers would tread carefully so the army would not use it as an excuse to intervene.

Malik's comments came after talks between the two main partners in Pakistan's six-week-old ruling coalition failed to reach an agreement on how to reinstate the judges Musharraf dismissed.

Lawyers launched a high-profile campaign last year when Musharraf first tried to oust Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who was later reinstated.

Chaudhry was later put under house arrest after Musharraf imposed emergency rule in November, when he also purged other judges.

Malik was arrested and fell ill in prison. Fellow activists claim he was poisoned.

Malik was in Hong Kong to receive an award from the Asian Human Rights Commission for him and his successor as president of the bar association, Aitzaz Ahsan. They were honored for their work with the lawyers' movement.

Courtesy Gulf Daily News.

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