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Civilian Musharraf takes presidential oath as Pakistan lawyers protest

[JURIST] Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was sworn in to a new five-year term as the country's civilian president Thursday, taking the oath of office [text] under the 1973 Constitution a day after stepping down as chief of the army [JURIST report]. Delivering his inaugural address [APP report], Musharraf defended his decision to declare a state of emergency [PDF text; JURIST news archive] earlier this month, saying it was necessary to preserve democracy in Pakistan: "we want democracy, we want human rights, we want stability, but we will do it in our own way." Musharraf's role as army chief complicated his recent bid for re-election as president, with several legal challenges filed against him in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The court, reconstituted with Musharraf loyalists after the state of emergency was put in place November 3, dismissed all legal challenges [JURIST report] to Musharraf's re-election last week. AP has more.

As Musharraf was being sworn in, several hundred Pakistani lawyers gathered in the streets of Lahore to protest. The local bar association president said that between 12 and 15 lawyers were injured and seven were arrested as police used batons to beat and drive back the protesters. A police spokesperson denied that any arrests had been made and said the crackdown was legal under the declaration of emergency law, which remains in effect. AFP has more.

10:40 AM ET - Musharraf said Thursday evening in an address on state television that emergency rule would be lifted on December 16, several weeks before general elections are scheduled to take place in early January. BBC News has more.

11/30/07 - At least 10 protesters were injured during the demonstration in Lahore and police cited approximately 150 lawyers with violations of Pakistan's anti-terror and public order laws. Dawn has local coverage.

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