You can always tell when it’s spring in Afghanistan. The opium is in bloom and the natives get restless.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Thousands of Pakistani opposition activists staged Monday their biggest rallies yet against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf‘s removal of a top judge that has left him open to accusations of entrenching military rule.
About 3,000 people gathered in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city, carrying party flags and chanting “Go Musharraf go!” and “Friends of America are traitors to the nation.” Hundreds of police in riot gear sat in vehicles nearby but didn’t intervene as the crowd marched through a commercial district.
Thousands more attended similar rallies in Lahore, Multan and other major cities, though the overall turnout appeared modest for a nation of about 160 million people.
Musharraf has faced a public outcry since March 9, when he suspended Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry on unspecified charges of abusing his authority. Lawyers and opposition groups have held dozens of protests across Pakistan, some of which have turned violent.
However, Monday’s nationwide rallies were the first called jointly by the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, which groups Pakistan’s main opposition Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-N, both of them led by former prime ministers living in exile.