Pakistan's lawyer slams US, Britain
A firebrand Pakistani lawyer leading a movement against President Pervez Musharraf urged the United States and Britain on Thursday to end their support for the "war on terror" ally.
Aitzaz Ahsan, who was released from house arrest last week after being held since emergency rule was imposed in November, was speaking to a rally of 500 black-suited attorneys at a court in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
"I am at a loss to understand why the US and UK are trying to stitch together alliances to save Pervez Musharraf," Ahsan, the head of Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association and a former minister, told the crowd.
He said Washington and London were trying to ensure the political survival of Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, after the president's allies suffered a heavy defeat in last month's elections.
"He is no longer the army chief, he has been rejected by his own people, he is the most unpopular and hated person," Ahsan said.
Musharraf has been backed by US President George W Bush since abandoning Pakistan's support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001 following the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
The lawyer accused the United States and Britain of "condoning" the detention of deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, whom Musharraf ousted in November under the state of emergency.
Earlier, more than 2,000 lawyers rallied in the eastern city of Lahore to press their demands for the reinstatement of the scores of judges sacked by Musharraf.