Islamabad, June 16: Pakistan"s former premier and a major partner in the ruling coalition Nawaz Sharif said that that President Pervez Musharraf could be hanged for declaring a state of emergency late last year and sacking of more than 60 judges.
'The people of Pakistan want you to be held accountable,' he told the 30,000 crowd and his supporters echoed, 'hang Musharraf' in return. High security marked the protest with over 6,000 paramilitary policemen at the site to handle violence. The rally organisers claimed that over 50,000 protesters were present to support the lawyers.
Reminding the audience of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged by Gen Zia ul Haq in 1979, Sharif said that hanging should not only be for elected leaders. “ These dictators should also be held responsible for the crimes they have committed," he exhorted.
The rally was a part of the week-long nationwide road protest organised by the lawyers.,,
Even as the Western powers fear instability in the nuclear-armed country, Sharif launched his verbal assault on their trusted ally, Musharraf.
Sharif demanded that Musharraf should be tried for treason for violating the Constitution and the military coup which he led nine years ago.
Meanwhile, Pakistan People"s Party (PPP) supremo, Asif Ali Zardari, tried to downplay Sharif"s demands. Observer"s believe that Zardari is keen to clip the President"s powers through constitutional amendments and is trying not to let Sharif steal the thunder.
Sharif will be contesting a by-election on June 26 for the National Assembly.