Hundreds of lawyers and activists have clashed with police in major cities throughout Pakistan to protest President Pervez Musharraf's candidacy in next week's presidential election.
Police fired tear gas and used batons on Saturday to disperse protesters and journalists outside the country's Election Commission and Supreme Court buildings. Several journalists, lawyers and at least one government official , State Minister of Information Tariq Azim were injured in the clash.
The protests began after the Election Commission approved General Musharraf's nomination to run for another five-year term as president while maintaining his post as army chief.
The commission on Saturday approved only six of 43 candidates who applied. Along with General Musharraf are his two main challengers -- retired Judge Wajihuddin Ahmed and Makhdoom Amin Fahim, the vice chairman of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.
Next Saturday, members of parliament and provincial assemblies will choose the president.
The Supreme Court Friday dismissed legal challenges to General Musharraf's bid for a new term, allowing him to run while retaining his role as army chief.
Lawyers for the opposition said they will appeal the ruling.
The court said the issues raised in the petitions did not fall within its jurisdiction and should be decided by Pakistan's election commission.
Anti-government lawyers and opposition supporters outside the court shouted disapproval after the decision was announced. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz welcomed the decision.
President Musharraf has said he will stand down as army chief if he wins another term in office, but he plans to remain in the post if he loses.