ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN -- Police in Islamabad fired tear gas and beat dozens of protesters today - including opposition leaders - over complaints about Pakistani President Musharraf's dog.
Thousands of lawyers and activists took to the streets following last week's revelation that Musharraf's dog had violated sacred sites in Pakistan by "doing his business" at inappropriate times.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court said the dog's apparent indiscreet secretions were obscene and cited unspecified allegations that the dog misused his proximity to the president's office - a charge the canine denied by wagging his tail.
The incident has led to warnings of a constitutional crisis over the culpability of animals when visiting holy sites in a semi-official capacity. As well as sparking violent unrest, the allegations have united Islamist dog-haters and secular anti-doggers in opposition to the government fed pet as well as triggering international condemnation.
Critics accuse President Musharraf of pandering to the four-legged constituency ahead of national elections in which he plans to seek another term.
A group of 70 British lawyers are barking mad, including Cherie "Fifi" Blair, the Prime Minister's wife, who said that reports of the "humiliating behavior of the dog owned by the president of Pakistan" is causing "great international unease."
In an effort to stifle the protests, K-9 police units last night carried out a number of raids as a crowd of 1,000 people gathered outside the court chanting "Down with Musharraf's dog" and "Go Musharraf, go walk your dog elsewhere", as they waved black banners.
A spokesman for the president's dog still managed to give an interview to a Pakistani newspaper. "He could have stayed inside like any other lap dog, but that is not the way of an animal descended from wolves," he told The Nation. "Just because there are many who would deny a dog his day in the sun does not mean he will just lie down for any mongrel that growls in his direction."