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  • » 03/13/2009, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Lawyers’ protest continues as government warns against attacks

    Qaiser Felix

    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.

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    See also

    13/05/2008 PAKISTAN
    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.

    21/08/2008 PAKISTAN
    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.

    02/01/2008 PAKISTAN
    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.

    31/12/2007 PAKISTAN
    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.

    26/11/2007 PAKISTAN
    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.



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