Pakistan Lawyers’ ‘Long March’ Seeks Return of Appellate Judges to Bench
Posted Jun 10, 2008 1:41 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
For a while, it looked like a coalition of newly elected leaders of Pakistan's parliament would restore to office this spring dozens of appellate judges removed from the bench late last year after the country's president, Pervez Musharraf, imposed emergency rule Nov. 3.
But disagreement among political factions has led to an impasse on exactly how this goal should be accomplished. Now the country's lawyers, once again, are demonstrating throughout the country in protest of Musharraf and in support of reinstating some 60 appellate judges and the rule of law. This time, their "Long March" will take them across Pakistan, from Sukkur to Multan to Lahore to Islamabad, where they are expected to arrive later this week, reports the BBC.
Iftikhar Chaudhry, the deposed chief justice of the country's supreme court, is reportedly one of the participants in the protest, which is expected to culminate in a "prolonged sit-in" in the capital city of Islamabad, according to the Canadian Press.
In Karachi, Pakistan's primary commercial city, which is on the other side of the country from Islamabad, Sabihuddin Ahmed, the deposed chief justice of the high court in Sindh, a southern province, was among those yesterday who were seeing off a convey headed to Multan, a gathering point midway along the march pathway.
"Today is the historic day that the lawyers and judges have come out to protect the country and the constitution," the justice said.
Lawyers began demonstrating yesterday, burning Musharraf in effigy and demanding reinstatement of the judges, reports the Associated Press.
"A planned march to the capital, Islamabad, by lawyers and other activists was heralded by gatherings in major cities and is expected to culminate this week with a rally and sit-in outside parliament. Thousands of political activists and others were expected to join the demonstrations," the news agency writes.
"Pakistan's lawyers' movement has been demanding the restoration of the judiciary since Musharraf declared emergency rule and removed the judges in November," recounts CNN, in another article about the latest lawyer-led protests. "Some claimed he sacked the judges because they were set to rule against the legitimacy of his third term in office."
BBC (May 12, 2008): " No agreement on Pakistan judges"
ABAJournal.com (May 1, 2008): "Ousted Pakistan Appellate Judges to be Restored to Office"
ABAJournal.com (Dec. 4, 2007): "ABA President Asks Attorneys to Sign Pakistan Petition"
ABAJournal.com (Nov. 12, 2007): "5,000 Pakistan Lawyers Reported Arrested"
ABAJournal.com (July 20, 2007): "Pakistan’s Chief Justice Reinstated"
ABAJournal.com (May 7, 2007): "Tens of Thousands Rally for Top Pakistan Jurist"