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Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Friday, 20 July 2007 14:40 UK

Timeline: Pakistan legal crisis

Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has become a focus for political opposition to the government of Pervez Musharraf, since he was suspended by the president in March. The BBC News website looks at the events surrounding the crisis.

4 February 2000: Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, then 52, is appointed to Pakistan's Supreme Court. Initially he is seen as supporting President Musharraf, voting to ratify the general's 1999 military coup.

Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry leaving from Karachi from Islamabad
Mr Chaudhry was suspended from his post in March

30 June 2005: Mr Chaudhry is appointed chief justice, makes a speech talking of a "serious crisis of confidence between the people and the judiciary". He gains a reputation for independence over his investigations into the highly sensitive issue of the disappearance of political activists and controversial privatisation programmes.

9 March 2007: President Pervez Musharraf suspends Mr Chaudhry for "misuse of authority", the details of which remain unspecified.

12 March: Lawyers begin boycott of court cases in support of Mr Chaudhry, which lasts for several days.

13 March: Mr Chaudhry appears before a closed hearing of senior judges to answer allegations against him.

16 March: Violence breaks out at Islamabad rally in support of Mr Chaudhry.

27 March: President Musharraf tells rally in Rawalpindi that no one will be allowed to politically exploit Mr Chaudhry's suspension.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf (left) and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
General Musharraf appointed Mr Chaudhry in June 2005
28 March: Mr Chaudhry makes first public speech since his suspension, saying that "Pakistan needs an independent judiciary and respect for the rule of law".

3 April: Mr Chaudhry appears before private session of the supreme court, and makes a call for the closed hearing to be made public.

18 April: Mr Chaudhry launches a challenge to the composition of the judicial body hearing allegations against him.

6 May: At a rally in Lahore, the largest so far in his support, Mr Chaudhry attacks "states which are based on dictatorship". His supporters allege that hundreds are detained by police to prevent them joining the protest.

12 May: Pro-government activists clash with opposition supporters, leading to violence as Mr Chaudhry flies to Karachi, intending to address a rally. At least 41 people are killed in two days of violence.

29 May: Lawyers for the chief justice tell the Supreme Court their client was illegally detained by security service chiefs for a number of hours on the day of his suspension.

4 June: President Musharraf orders sweeping new curbs on the media amid continuing criticism of his suspension of the judge. The new measures are suspended three days later.

2 July: The Supreme Court throws out evidence that government lawyers wanted to use against Mr Chaudhry, describing it as "scandalous". The evidence in question is said to concern judges' personal lives. Intelligence officers are also banned from the court.

17 July: A suicide bombing kills at least 15 people at a rally Mr Chaudhry had been due to attend in Islamabad. It is not clear who carried out the attack or who it was aimed at.

20 July: Mr Chaudhry's lawyers finish submissions to the Supreme Court and judges retire to consider their verdict, returning within hours to reinstate the chief justice. His suspension is declared illegal and all charges against him are quashed.

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