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Pakistani lawyers, opposition, gear up for protest

LAHORE: Pakistan will never attract investment without an independent judiciary and a protest beginning next week will go on until the government reinstates a judge dismissed in 2007, a protest organiser said. Anti-government lawyers backed by opposition political parties are due to launch a cross-country motor convoy on March 12 to press for an independent...

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 4, 2009 | Last Updated: 12 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Mar 4, 2009 | Last Updated: 12 years ago
Pakistani lawyers, opposition, gear up for protest

LAHORE: Pakistan will never attract investment without an independent judiciary and a protest beginning next week will go on until the government reinstates a judge dismissed in 2007, a protest organiser said.

Anti-government lawyers backed by opposition political parties are due to launch a cross-country motor convoy on March 12 to press for an independent judiciary and plan to begin an indefinite sit-in near parliament from March 16.

The protest is one more problem for a civilian government led by President Asif Ali Zardari's party that took power a year ago and is struggling with economic and security crises.

An attack on Sri Lanka's cricket squad in the city of Lahore on Tuesday has heightened concerns about security across the country and has led to speculation the government might use the fear of violence to forestall the opposition campaign.

The lawyers want the reappointment of a former Supreme Court chief, the independent-minded Iftikhar Chaudhry, who former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf dismissed in 2007.

But top lawyer and protest organiser Aitzaz Ahsan, a prominent member of Zardari's party, said the president could end the protest, and pave the way for a flood of investment, by keeping his promises to reinstate Chaudhry.

“Iftikhar Chaudhry's reinstatement can open the flood gates to private investment,” Ahsan told Reuters in an interview on Monday. “Private investment goes only to countries where the judiciary is independent.”

“I know the world is under a deep recession but as and when the wheels start turning, that's the only recipe we have for attracting investment in a country that is bedevilled with so many problems,” he said. REUTERS

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