The political crisis in Pakistan is escalating.
Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif has defied government efforts to confine him to his home in Lahore. Although officials argue the detention was for his own safety, Sharif says it was an attempt to halt a protest campaign by lawyers, which he supports. President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered the detention of hundreds of lawyers and opposition activists, hoping to prevent a demonstration, involving a cross-country march, ending in a sit-in, in Islamabad, on Monday. Earlier today, police fired tear gas to disperse protestors, waiting for Sharif to speak, outside Lahore’s High Court. The lawyers are calling for the President to reinstate the Chief Justice dismissed two years ago by General Pervez Musharaff. Sharif agreed to back their cause last month, after the Supreme Court disqualified him and his brother from elected office, over earlier convictions. The President has promised to seek a review of the Supreme Court ruling. But the opposition camp aren’t holding their breath and are refusing to give up on their demands.