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Pakistan lawyers begin long march, call for reinstatement of judges

[JURIST] Members of the Pakistan lawyers' movement [New York Times backgrounder] Monday followed through on last month's promise to protest from city to city [Daily Times report; JURIST report] in a call for the restoration of judges ousted by President Pervez Musharraf during his emergency rule [JURIST report] last November. Leaders of the two main coalition parties, the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) [party websites], pledged in February to restore the judiciary, and the PPP has since submitted a proposed constitutional amendment package [JURIST report]. The march is scheduled to end with a sit-in at the Parliament in Islamabad late this week, but lawyers have said that the protests will continue until the government restores the judiciary and reverses any unconstitutional actions taken by Musharraf. AFP has more.

Musharraf announced Saturday that he would not step down or go into exile [Dawn report], prompting protesters to lead chants calling for his resignation. PML-N officials have generally favored Musharraf's resignation or impeachment, and released a "charge sheet" [JURIST report; Dawn charge sheet overview] against him. PPP leaders have advocated cooperating with Musharraf and amending the constitution, but adopted a stricter stance after Saturday's declaration, saying Musharraf is only the president by default [Daily Times report] rather than by election.

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