… William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II … or was it Pervez Musharraf?
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 6 — In a telephone address to lawyers in Pakistan’s capital, the ousted chief justice of the Supreme Court urged the lawyers today to continue to defy the state of emergency imposed by the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. In the second day of protests, police arrested 50 lawyers in the eastern city of Lahore and clashes broke out between hundreds of lawyers and Pakistani police in Multan.
“The lawyers should convey my message to the people to rise up and restore the constitution,” the chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, told dozens of lawyers before his cellular phone line was cut. “I am under arrest now, but soon I will also join you in your struggle.”
It was unclear how Chief Justice Chaudhry, who is under house arrest, was able to gain access to a telephone. He and other lawyers said they hoped to recreate the protest campaign they carried out this spring when the lawyers mounted big rallies in major cities after General Musharraf removed Chief Justice Chaudhry from the Supreme Court bench. He was reinstated after four months, and then fired again on Saturday.
Full article here (registration required). President Bush drew a lukewarm “hard line” against Musharraf’s decision to declare martial law in Pakistan in response to terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists:
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush took a hard line with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Monday, demanding he relinquish his military duties and return the country to civilian rule.
The White House, using tough rhetoric against a strategic ally in the war on terrorism, also called on Musharraf to release hundreds of opposition leaders and activists who have been rounded up since the declaration of martial law on Saturday.
“We expect there to be elections as soon as possible,” Bush told reporters in his first public remarks on the crisis in Pakistan. “The president should remove his military uniform. Previous to his decision we made it clear that these emergency measures would undermine democracy.”
… Despite the tough rhetoric, the White House has decided against taking tangible measures to show its displeasure with Musharraf. Administration officials said there would be no immediate cuts to aid to Pakistan.
Full article here. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s wild card, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, is traveling to Islamabad to discuss the state of emergency with leaders of opposition parties:
KARACHI (Thomson Financial) – Pakistan’s former premier Benazir Bhutto headed for the capital Islamabad Tuesday for talks with political leaders on the state of emergency but said she had no plans to meet President Pervez Musharraf.
‘I am going to hold discussions with the leadership of other parties on the current situation and chalk out a joint strategy with them,’ she told reporters at Karachi airport.
Bhutto said that a meeting with Musharraf was ‘not in her schedule during her stay in Islamabad.’
This will be her first visit to the capital since she returned to Pakistan on October 18 from eight years in self-exile on corruption charges, a homecoming that ended in twin bombings that killed 139 people.
Bhutto, 54, flew to Dubai briefly on Thursday but came home again following Musharraf’s decision to impose a state of emergency on Saturday.
Military ruler Musharraf and Bhutto, leader of the moderate Pakistan People’s Party, had been in contact for several months for a possible power-sharing deal after general elections due in January.
Musharraf gave her an amnesty on the graft charges in October to allow her to return home.