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Pakistani Lawyers Rally for Musharraf's Resignation

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, long a key U.S. ally, is facing a fresh challenge. Thousands of lawyers and other activists are headed for the capital, Islamabad, for a big rally this week. They'll be demanding Musharraf's resignation and the restoration of judges he fired last year. NPR's Philip Reeves reports.

PHILIP REEVES: History is repeating itself.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER, CHANTING)

REEVES: The protestors have two goals. One is to secure the reinstatement of Pakistan's chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges sacked by Musharraf because he feared they'd invalidate his reelection as president. The other is to demand Musharraf's resignation. He was hanged and burned in effigy in Multan yesterday. Chaudhry himself will be taking part.

NAWAZ SHARIF: (Foreign language spoken)

REEVES: Overall, it's a grim picture in which Pakistan's party leaders are living up to their reputation for internal squabbling. Four months have elapsed since their stunning election victory. The euphoria of that event has already vanished. Many of the 165-million people of Pakistan have other things to worry about. Fuel and food prices are rising. There are endless power cuts. Their worry is simply how to survive. Philip Reeves, NPR News, New Delhi. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.