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Pakistan bar leader says lawyers resuming protests if ousted judges not restored

[JURIST] Pakistani lawyers will resume protests in Islamabad unless the superior court judges ousted [JURIST report] in November 2007 by President Pervez Musharraf are reinstated, Pakistani Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan [PILDAT profile] said Wednesday. Ahsan, originally detained in a security sweep after Musharraf's November 3 proclamation of emergency and put under house arrest [JURIST reports] again earlier this month after trying to visit the grave of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive], told reporters that the defeat [JURIST report] of Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) [party website] in Tuesday's parliamentary elections could persuade Musharraf to resign. Ahsan also warned that if the ousted judges were not restored by the March 9 anniversary of Musharraf's initial suspension of now-dismissed Pakistani Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive], lawyers would go back into the streets.

Ahsan was a member of Chaudhry's legal defense team in early 2007 when the judge was temporarily removed for "misconduct." His latest detention came just two days after he was released from his three month term of house arrest. Before being re-arrested, Ahsan renewed his call for Musharraf's resignation [JURIST report]. The new house arrest order confines him to his home in Punjab province for 30 days, but he has been allowed to receive visitors and use the telephone. AP has more.

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