Islamabad, Feb 21 : Former Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif has said that the days of President Pervez Musharraf's regime were numbered, and assured lawyers that deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar M Chaudhry would soon be reinstated.
The lawyers gathered this afternoon at the Judges Colony, where Justice Chaudhry has been under house arrest since Musharraf sacked him during last year's emergency rule, despite strict security arrangements made by police.
The members of the legal fraternity and civil society activists removed concrete and barb wire barricades and pushed back police as they tried to march to Chaudhry's residence.
Police acted with restraint during the first protest by the lawyers since opposition PPP and Sharif's PML-N emerged as the two largest parties in the February 18 general election. The PML-Q, which backs Musharraf, was routed in the polls.
Amidst fears of a confrontation between police and the lawyers near Chaudhry's home, Sharif and his brother Shahbaz drove to the Judges Colony and joined the protesters.
Standing on the footboard on his armoured vehicle, Sharif addressed the lawyers and vowed to reinstate Justice Chaudhry and other judges, sacked for not endorsing the emergency.
"God willing, Chief Justice Chaudhry will be back in the Supreme Court very soon," he said to loud cheers from the lawyers.
Sharif said the days of Musharraf's regime were numbered following the polls and asked protesters to exercise restraint instead of engaging in confrontation.
Noting that they had struggled against the military regime for several months, he asked them to wait for a "few more days" so that Justice Chaudhry could be reinstated.
The protesters began dispersing slowly after the address by Sharif, who then drove away from the Judges Colony.