Pak lawyers boycott courts to pressure Musharraf to quit
Hundreds of lawyers rallied and boycotted courts across Pakistan yesterday in a renewed campaign to force President Gen Pervez Musharraf to step down as supporters of former premier Nawaz Sharif prepared for his promised return from exile.
Courts in major cities including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and Rawalpindi were largely deserted and lawyers hoisted black flags, witnesses said.
In Lahore, about 500 lawyers wearing black armbands marched on a road chanting slogans against Musharraf. Dozens of lawyers rallied in Quetta chanting "Go Musharraf, Go!"
Lawyers have been at the forefront of a campaign against military rule in Pakistan since Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup,
tried to sack the chief justice in March. The move sparked anti-government rallies until the Supreme Court reinstated the judge in July.
"This is the second phase of our protest, and God willing, we will again be successful," said Mohammed Azhar, a spokesman for the
Supreme Court Bar Association. The association is the top representative body of lawyers in Pakistan.
"We are organising peaceful rallies today against the dictatorial rule of Musharraf," he said.
Despite the protests, a Supreme Court bench in Islamabad headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry heard legal challenges to Musharraf's dual role as president and army chief and his eligibility to run for another presidential term.