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Pakistani Lawyers Boycott Courts, Rally Against President


Pakistani lawyers are boycotting courts in protest against President Asif Ali Zardari, who is locked in a dispute with the Supreme Court over the appointment of judges.

Black-suited lawyers rallied in the streets of Islamabad and other major cities across Pakistan Monday.

Leaders of the Supreme Court Bar Association say Mr. Zardari's appointments are a threat to the power of the judiciary.

The Pakistani Supreme Court on Saturday suspended two judicial appointments by President Zardari.

The emergency ruling said Mr. Zardari violated the constitution by failing to first consult the high court's chief justice on the appointments.

The court said the two nominees - one for the Supreme Court and one for the Lahore High Court - will continue to serve in their previous positions until the matter is resolved.

A spokesman for Mr. Zardari said Saturday that contrary to the emergency ruling, consultations had, in fact, taken place.

President Zardari has been at odds with Pakistan's Supreme Court before.

He had promised to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and other judges after taking office in 2008, but waited until last year to act.

In December, the high court invalidated an amnesty decree that had shielded more than 8,000 people, including Mr. Zardari and some of his top allies, against corruption charges.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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