Thousands of lawyers blocked roads across Pakistan on Thursday to press the government to reinstate judges purged by former president Pervez Musharraf, as militants attacked police in the northwest, killing 11 people.
A bitter disagreement between the country’s two main political parties over the judges led to a split in the ruling coalition this week, dashing hopes for stability in the nuclear-armed country after Musharraf’s resignation last week.
Political uncertainty, militant violence and economic woes have undermined investor confidence, leading to a sharp slide in Pakistan stocks which authorities have tried to halt by setting a floor for the key share index.
Black-suited lawyers sat down on roads in all major cities to press the coalition, led by the party of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, to reappoint dozens of judges Musharraf dismissed when he imposed emergency rule in November.
Lawyers were at the forefront of opposition to Musharraf after the former army chief clashed with the then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in March last year, and their protests pose a challenge to the coalition that came to power after February elections.