Lawyers reach Rawalpindi in last leg of 'long march'

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Islamabad, Jun 13 (UNI) Thousands of lawyers, political activists and members of civil society reached garrison town of Rawalpindi in the last leg of their 'long march' for reinstatement of judges deposed by embattled Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

Participants of the march will reach the parade square in front of presidential palace and parliament house later today to press government for restoration of at least 60 judges sacked by President Musharraf after they refused to take fresh oath of allegiance to him after imposition of emergency rule in the country on November 3, 2007.

Strict security arrangements have been made in the leafy capital with deployment of thousands of police from Islamabad, Punjab as well as troops from Frontier Constabulary. A huge stage has been erected on the parade square enabling members of the lawyers' community to make speeches.

The lawyers' caravan comprising political workers, civil society and members of different organisations, left Lahore for Islamabad last night amidst loud anti-Musharraf and anti-Zardari sloganeering.

They vowed to restore the sacked judges of the Supreme Court by laying a siege to the parliament house and the presidency. The march, which began from Karachi on Monday, gradually swelled in size and strength after passing through different cities including Sukkur, Multan, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal and Lahore.

It has culminated in a huge rally in Rawalpindi with plans to stage a long sit-in outside the parliament house in Islamabad to press for the restoration of the deposed judges.

A lawyers' caravan set off from Lahore High Court last evening and marched towards Islamabad after holding a public meeting at Azadi Chowk under the historic Minar-e-Pakistan.

The processionists held black flags along with their parties and organisations emblems.

Participants of the rally on the occasion chanted full-throated slogans such as, 'Go Musharraf go,' 'America's friend is a traitor,' 'Our struggle will continue till restoration of the judiciary.' The lawyers' caravan passed through GT Road making brief stops at main cities and towns like Gujranwala, Gujrat, Kharian, Jhelum and Rawat before reaching Rawalpindi. A large number of lawyers and political workers joined their colleagues from these cities in shape of processions on its way to Islamabad.

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