Pakistani lawyers are holding a countrywide hunger strike in front of courts calling for restoration of judges deposed since November 2007.
The former president and military dictator Pervez Musharraf imposed the state of martial law early in November 2007 and purged some 60 judges of the country’s top courts including the then chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry when they were likely to rule against Musharraf’s eligibility as head of state.
The sacking of the top courts judges and the appointment of hand picked judiciary by the then military ruler sparked violent protests across the country pushing the embattled country into political turmoil, our Press TV correspondent reported from Islamabad Thursday.
He said that since then, the lawyers, hostile to the government, are holding protest demonstrations across Pakistan demanding restoration of the sacked judges.
He adds that a large number of lawyers following the boycott policy did not appear in courts across the country to press their demands while the pro-government lawyers pursued their cases in courts.
Even the lawyers unions have set up hunger strikes and protest camps separately outside courts in all major cities to express solidarity with the deposed judges.
A political analyst Ayesha Siddiqa recently said: “President Asif Ali Zardari has not given up the dictatorial powers and controls over all state institutions Musharraf accumulated during his seven years of rule.”
A real change could have taken place had the president reinstated former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Chaudhry’s reinstatement could lead to the independence of the judiciary, an essential element of real democracy, Siddiqa said.
Despite promises during the election campaign, Zardari did not restore Chaudhry, creating rifts in the coalition government set up in March. A major ally, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, withdrew his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) from the government.