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Pakistani Lawyers Protest Government Dismissal of Senior Judges


Pakistani lawyers took to the streets of the capital, Islamabad, Wednesday to protest President Pervez Musharraf's purging of the country's judiciary.

Lawyers in Islamabad announced plans to indefinitely boycott the courts daily - working only a half-day - until the president restores the constitution and reinstates a host of judges he deposed for challenging his re-election.

Similar demonstrations also were held elsewhere in Pakistan.

The government has formally retired at least 27 senior judges. Among them are one of Mr. Musharraf's fiercest critics, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The judges had declined to take a new oath of allegiance after Mr. Musharraf imposed the state of emergency on November 3.

Mr. Musharraf has said judicial interference with the government was one factor behind his declaration of emergency rule. He has promised to lift emergency rule on December 16.

Critics of Mr. Musharraf accuse him of using emergency powers to purge the judiciary of judges who may have overturned his victory in October's presidential election.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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