House of suspended Pakistan judge's counsel attacked
May 10, 2007 - 1:24:59 PM

Islamabad, May 10 - Unidentified attackers fired a volley of shots at the house of a counsel for Pakistan's suspended top judge in the port city of Karachi early Thursday, but no one was injured, media reports said.

'At around 2.58 a.m. - there was a burst of machinegun fire and I pushed my wife off the bed and rushed upstairs to see my children,' the lawyer, Munir Malik, told the private Aaj news channel.

Though most of the rounds of ammunition ricocheted off the outer wall, a couple of bullets pierced through the ceiling of a room on the first floor of the house after smashing the windowpanes.

'I was right in front of the window and was on the laptop when I heard the gunshots,' Malik's teenaged daughter said.

Saying that he does not have personal rivalry with anyone, the counsel hinted that it might be a move to intimidate him into abandoning the legal battle for the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who was sacked by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on March 9 over abuse-of-office allegations.

The attack came within a day of the brief closure of Malik's offices in Karachi by local authorities on grounds that the residential premises were being used for commercial activity.

Malik is among a group of lawyers representing Chaudhry in the controversial case of 'misconduct and misuse of authority' that has pushed the country towards its worst judicial crisis and created a rallying point for opposition parties seeking removal of Musharraf and the government supported by him.

The chief justice, who was initially held incommunicado at his official residence in Islamabad, has lately been touring different cities to address the lawyers' fraternity amid widespread support of opposition activists and lawyers.

He is scheduled to visit Karachi on May 12 but the government has asked him to postpone the trip in the wake of intelligence reports that terrorists might attack. However, Chaudhry's counsels say that he will attend the planned event.

The pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League - is holding its own mass rally in the capital Islamabad the same day in a bid to substantiate its claim that the public is with the president and does not support the politicisation of 'a purely legal and constitutional matter' of Chaudhry's suspension.

The PML and its allies also say they will re-elect Musharraf as president in the polls due this autumn for another five-year term just weeks before the Pakistani parliament completes its tenure.

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