Pak: Gilani`s conviction sparks protests in Punjab
Lahore: Angry workers of the ruling PPP organised protests in different parts of Pakistan`s Punjab province soon after the Supreme Court convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of contempt for refusing to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The PPP workers took to the streets in several cities and towns of Punjab, including Gilani`s hometown of Multan, to protest the verdict.
A large demonstration was organised in Multan.
Protesters blocked the Bahawalpur by-pass, holding up traffic on a key highway for several hours.
They burnt tyres to block roads and torched a van.
The protesters also burnt effigies of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry at several places and shouted slogans against the verdict and the judges of the apex court.
In Bhakkar district in southern Punjab, protesters blocked the Grand Trunk Road and shouted slogans against the judiciary.
Mani Pahalwan, a PPP worker, said the judiciary had always acted against the party on behalf of the security establishment.
"This verdict shows that the judiciary has preferred vested interests instead of upholding the supremacy of the law and the Constitution," he said.
PPP workers would not accept the verdict and would continue their protest, he said.
"The PPP workers are organising demonstrations against the decision on their own to register their protest. It is not the party`s decision," Navid Chaudhry, a senior PPP leader of Punjab, said.
Though the PPP had reservations about the decision, it would not act like the PML-N, which had attacked the Supreme Court after it gave a verdict against party chief Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry said.
Gilani had committed no crime as he had only followed the Constitution by not approaching the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Zardari, he said.
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