Lawyers strike over Zardari judicial control

February 15th, 2010 - 6:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz Sharif Islamabad, Feb 15 (IANS/AKI) Lawyers and opposition parties in Pakistan took to the streets across the country Monday to protest against the decision by President Asif Ali Zardari to appoint judges without the consent of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry.
“President Asif Zardari tried to divide the judiciary but the conspiracy has failed,” prominent constitutional lawyer Nihal Hashmi told Adnkronos International (AKI).

There was heavy security on the streets as lawyers boycotted court proceedings and gathered in several cities, including Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore, shouting slogans against the government and burning the flags of the ruling party.

At least 66 bar associations across Pakistan also unanimously passed a resolution Monday declaring the Feb 13 presidential order regarding judicial appointments illegal and to back the chief justice.

Both judges, Saquib Nisar, a judge at the Lahore High Court, who was promoted as chief justice of that court and Khawaja Sharif, currently Lahore’s chief justice, promoted to be a judge of the Supreme Court, refused to accept their promotions without Chaudhry’s consent.

Former prime minister and head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Nawaz Sharif, held a media conference in Islamabad Sunday.

He described Zardari as “the biggest threat to democracy at the present time”.

Workers loyal to the president’s Pakistan Peoples Party’s promptly reacted to Sharif’s controversial comments and held rallies throughout the country in protest and burnt Sharif’s effigies.

This new wave of protests across the country has once again raised a serious political problem and there is speculation it may cause military intervention.

Pakistani ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani rejected speculation about a potential military coup when he faced the media in Lahore Sunday.

He stressed that Washington supported democracy in Pakistan and stressed that the passage of the Kerry-Lugar Bill (an economic package for Pakistan) was linked to a democratic government in Pakistan.

–IANS/AKI

sy/dg

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