[JURIST] Ousted Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] Tuesday urged Pakistan's political parties and people to boycott parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8, saying that they were comprised by being held under unconstitutional emergency rule and should not proceed because Pakistan was in unusual circumstances with the rights of its judges, lawyers and people restricted or suspended. Lahore High Court Bar Association Secretary Sarfraz Cheema Chaudhry said the chief justice talked to him by telephone from his official residence, which he has not been allowed to leave. Chaudhry's boycott call was echoed by retired Supreme Court Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed [Wikipedia profile], an anti-Musharraf candidate in the presidential election in October and one of 17 retired Pakistani judges who Tuesday issued a joint declaration calling for the reinstatement of the constitution and for an end to emergency rule. Pakistan's Dawn has more. The News has additional coverage.
Pakistan's two main political parties appear somewhat divided over the boycott option. Recently returned ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been visiting some of the deposed judges [News report], has said he favors consultation with party members although he party has given him free rein to decide whether to boycott or not. Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister leading the Pakistan People's Party, said [Hindu report] on Wednesday that her party had "finally decided to participate under protest while reserving the right to boycott at a subsequent stage".