Pakistan lawyers march to demand reinstatement of judges (Lead)

June 9th, 2008 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, June 9 (IANS) Hundreds of lawyers, political activists and members of general public Monday launched a four-day march towards Pakistan’s capital for restoration of judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf last November. The lawyers started their march - dubbed the “Long March” - Monday from Karachi and Quetta with hundreds of people riding vehicles and chanting slogans “go Musharraf go” and “struggle will continue until restoration of judges”.

Musharraf had on Nov 3 last year sacked more than 60 judges of the superior courts including Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

“Our Long March is going very successful and thousands of people and others will continue to join the caravan on their way to Islamabad,” leader of the lawyers’ movement and president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Aitzaz Ahsan told IANS.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which is ruling the Punjab province, has given a free hand to the lawyers for the march and has asked its workers to fully participate in the movement.

However, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that had supported the lawyers movement before coming to power has distanced itself from the protests.

Ahsan said Tuesday, the convoy would leave for Multan where the deposed chief justice would greet the protesting lawyers. Ahsan said Chaudhry would address the marchers Wednesday.

Ahsan said the purpose of the march was to create awareness among all sections of society and reiterated that the people were most anxious to see the deposed judges back.

He said the lawyers and participants would not be provoked and said anyone resorting to violence or exhorting it would be identified, isolated and asked to leave the march.

He also said that there would be no storming of any building or damage to any property during the march.

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