Jeremy Page and Zahid Hussian in Islamabad
Clad in their trademark black suits and ties, Pakistan’s lawyers took to the streets today to press the winners of a parliamentary election to re-instate the deposed Chief Justice and remove President Pervez Musharraf.
The lawyers clashed with police in four of Pakistan’s main cities just hours before the Pakistan People’s Party, which won the most seats, and the Pakistan Muslim League (N), which came second, announced a breakthrough in talks to form a coalition.
Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s widower and successor as PPP leader, and Nawaz Sharif, the PML (N) leader, have vowed to put aside decades of hostility and form a government of national consensus.
But the lawyers’ protests spotlighted the two most fundamental issues dividing the parties -- how to handle Mr Musharraf and Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the chief justice he sacked in November.