11/20/2007, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Supreme Court gives “blessing” to Musharraf, 3 thousand opposition activists released

The Courts judges, renewed under emergency rule, confirmed the legitimacy of the president-general’s re-election. Lawyers and ordinary civilians released while the leaders of the protest remain in jail.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pakistani authorities confirmed a few hours ago the release of circa 3 thousand op position activists, arrested during the course of the popular protests which took place in the immediate aftermath of the state of emergency being proclaimed by general Musharraf on November 3rd.

The release was immediately decided after the Supreme Court sentence which confirmed the legitimacy of the president’s re-election.  The judges completely replaced following November 3rd, established that Musharrasf’s candidacy did not go against the constitution despite the fact that he did not renounce leadership of the army.

This sentence has sparked renewed protest minutes before Musharraf’s departure for Saudi Arabia.  There the Pakistani President is due to meet with key ally King Abdallah, who also hosts the exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The two politicians have no intention of meeting each other.

Some analysts have described the Supreme Court decision as “necessary” to restore calm ahead on parliamentary elections which are set for January 8th next.  Most of the released dissidents are lawyers and simple citizens.  The protest leaders such as former cricket star and leading People’s Party member Imran Khan, are still in prison along with thousands more.

 

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