Pakistani lawyers boycott courts over judges row

A Supreme Court panel on Saturday blocked an order from Zardari issued earlier that day appointing two judges.

Pakistani lawyers boycott courts over judges row

Many Pakistani lawyers boycotted courts on Monday in a protest against President Asif Ali Zardari, who is in a dispute with the Supreme Court over the appointment of judges.

A Supreme Court panel on Saturday blocked an order from Zardari issued earlier that day appointing two judges, one to the Supreme Court and the other as chief justice of the high court in the city of Lahore.

The court said Zardari's order was a violation of the constitution as the president had not consulted the Supreme Court chief on the appointments.

Black-suited lawyers were back on the streets on Monday in major cities across the country, protesting against Zardari, husband of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

"It's a bid to threaten the judiciary and send a message that the president is more powerful than anybody else," Qazi Mohammad Anwar, president of the Supreme Court bar association and a protest leader, told Reuters, referring to Zardari's bid to appoint judges.

"We warn the government to stop this adventurism, stop constitutional adventurism. It will be harmful to them," he said.

Some protesting lawyers burnt an effigy of Zardari.

Pro-government lawyers also took to the streets in some cities.

The row comes two months after the Supreme Court threw out an amnesty that had protected Zardari, several top aides and thousands of political activists and civil servants, mostly from corruption charges.
Despite his immunity, Zardari is expected to face legal challenges to his eligibility to have stood for president in 2008.

In an ominous sign for Zardari, opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who had been largely supportive of the government, denounced the president on Sunday as "the biggest threat to democracy".

While the Supreme Court in blocking Zardari's appointments had said Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had not been consulted, the president's spokesman denied any impropriety, saying the chief justice had been consulted. The next hearing into the case will be on Feb. 18.


Reuters



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Pakistani PM plays down row over judges 

Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2010, 15:25
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