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Friday, March 13, 2009

Police bar top lawyer from Pakistan protest march
March 14, 2009 - 3:59AM
Pakistani police Friday prevented one of the country's top laywers from travelling to join a major anti-government protest due to march on the capital Islamabad.
Ali Ahmed Kurd, the current president of the national Supreme Court bar association, was barred as he tried to enter the southern province of Sindh en route to Lahore, from where marchers plan to head for Islamabad.
He spent the night in the open at a sit-in protest against the block, but said Friday he would return to the southwest city of Quetta to try again.
"We strongly condemn the Sindh government for stopping our peaceful march," Kurd told reporters.
"We are calling off our march for the moment and going back but will try to reach Islamabad by other routes and appeal to all Pakistanis to reach Islamabad in groups or as individuals by any possible means," he added.
"This action of the government has shown to the people of Pakistan and the entire world that lawyers cannot move freely in their own country."
Pakistani police had already Thursday blocked activists from leaving the country's biggest city, Karachi, and manhandled protesters into prison vans.
The march by lawyers and opposition supporters is to demand that Zardari reinstate sacked judges but has mushroomed into a wider protest against the government of Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari.
Main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, locked in a showdown with his longtime rival, has urged people to rise up against the civilian government which has failed to stem a political crisis, economic meltdown and Islamist violence.
© 2009 AFPThis story is sourced direct from an overseas news agency as an additional service to readers. Spelling follows North American usage, along with foreign currency and measurement units.

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