Lahore, March 17 (Agencies): Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers in business suits clashed with the police at the Lahore high court prompting President Pervez Musharraf to say conspirators were stirring up trouble.
The bid to get rid of Chaudhary has outraged lawyers and united disparate Opposition parties against Musharraf who looks set to seek another term late this year.
Today’s unrest began when the police stormed the Lahore high court premises and attacked agitating lawyers, drawing an angry reaction from acting Chief Justice Javed Iqbal.
Police used teargas to break up a meeting of lawyers who had assembled to plan their future protests against the suspension of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
The stone-pelting lawyers tried to stop the police from entering the court premises but were beaten up. TV channels reported that police arrested around 15 lawyers outside the high court on charges of pelting stones at the police.
Several journalists and cameramen were beaten up and their equipment smashed up. The police ransacked the lawyers’ offices after entering the court premises. The lawyers later continued on the main road.
Speaking at a rally in Pakpattan district in Punjab province, Musharraf warned his detractors against playing politics on the reference against suspended chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry saying it was a “purely judicial matter” and he had no personal differences with him.
“There are those who are doing politics and hatching conspiracies against me and the country on an issue which is legal and constitutional and is being taken up by the Supreme Judicial Council,” he said. Musharraf asked the people not to take to the streets and agitate.
Pakistan today announced that the apex court’s only Hindu judge, Rana Bhagwan Das ,who is next in line for the post, would be sworn in as acting chief justice on his return from India.