» 03/13/2009, 00.00
Lawyers’ protest continues as government warns against attacks
Laywers’ “long march” to Islamabad against President Zardari continues. They say about a thousand people have been arrested. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan compares government action to Musharraf’s military rule.
Karachi (AsiaNews) – Lawyers continue to protest against the Zardari administration. Demonstrators claim that more than a thousand people were arrested or held by police yesterday but reiterated that they will continue until the reach the capital for a sit-in next Monday.
Iqbal Haider, co-chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), criticised the “government’s anti-democratic decision” to ban all demonstrations, saying that it is “disturbingly similar to the path military ruler Pervez Musharraf had taken against dissent and peaceful protest.”
Aitzaz Ahsan, the former Supreme Court Bar Association president, said that “the government crackdown can’t dampen our spirits. In fact, it will only add fire to our passion”.
However, the government confirmed its intention to ban demonstrations in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh.
Rehman Malik, advisor to the prime minister on home affairs, spoke before the Senate saying that the intelligence services had warned the government that the “long march” was in danger from terrorist attacks, adding that the Sharif brothers were possible targets.
The two leading figures of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Nawaz) joined the lawyers yesterday in their protest against the president.
Party founder Nawaz Sharif condemned the decision imposed by what he called a “dictatorial government,” claiming that he was aware of a plan by some elements within the government wanted to kill him.
Muslim League withdraws its ministers, plunging Pakistan government into crisis
Out of 24 ministers nine are quitting over the failure to reinstate judges sacked by Musharraf. There is particular concern over the finance minister who was supposed to present the annual budget in a few weeks time.
Terrorism on the offensive as the debate over a new president heats up
At least 50 people are killed and dozens are hurt in a double suicide bomb attack against the country’s main defence industry complex. At the same time the country is starting to vet the candidacy of Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, to the presidency. Political parties are however split over the issue.
Pakistani elections delayed till 18 February
Election Commission postpones polls by six weeks because of damages incurred by many polling stations in last week’s violence. Tonight President Musharraf is to speak to the nation. Speculation continues as to the who was behind the Bhutto assassination and why. Former prime minister held a file with intelligence services’ plan to fix the elections.
Delay “expected” in Pakistan Election
A ruling party spokesman proposes postponing the poll. Election Commission will announce its decision tomorrow. The Pakistan People’s Party appoints Ms Bhutto’s son as her official successor, says it is ready for the 8 January poll. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan accuses Musharraf of involvement in the assassination, calls on the United Nations to conduct an independent inquiry.
Sharif returns home, parliamentary race opens
After eight years in exile, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz group) is home, running for a seat in next parliamentary election scheduled for 8 January. He pledges no deal with Musharraf, talks with Benazir Bhutto.
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
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Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
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