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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Pakistan judge protest escalates
Judge Chaudhry thronged by supporters
Judge Chaudhry thronged by supporters
Protesters have staged their biggest demonstration so far against the suspension of Pakistan's Supreme Court Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Some 2,000 people gathered outside the court complex in Islamabad.

A panel of fellow judges there has been hearing charges that Mr Chaudhry abused his office.

Correspondents say the removal of Mr Chaudhry is being seen as an attempt by Gen Musharraf to stifle judicial independence in an election year.

Mr Chaudhry has a reputation for judicial activism in cases that have caused embarrassment to the government.

President Musharraf removed him from office on 9 March, triggering a wave of protests led by lawyers around the country.

Chanting

BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says the latest protests were again being led by lawyers, but there was a much bigger representation of political parties this time.

Protesters burn an effigy of President Musharraf
Protesters burn an effigy of President Musharraf

The protesters, including Islamists as well as the secular Pakistan People's Party activists, carried green, red and black flags.

They were demanding that Mr Chaudhry be reinstated and want President Musharraf to go.

"Go Musharraf, go" and "Musharraf is America's pet dog", were among the chants.

Hundreds of paramilitary troops and baton-wielding riot police were deployed to keep order.

Mr Chaudhry has taken a lead in cases involving the controversial privatisation of state assets and the fate of missing people allegedly abducted by the security forces.

The main charge against Mr Chaudhry is that he used his authority to have his son appointed to a prestigious government position.

Mr Chaudhry denies any wrongdoing, and has called for the closed hearings to be held in public.




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Angry demonstrations outside Pakistan's Supreme Court



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