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Pakistan lawyers boycott courts to protest chief justice suspension

[JURIST] Hundreds of Pakistani lawyers boycotted courts Saturday to protest Friday's suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [JURIST report] for unspecified misconduct. An estimated 200 lawyers burned images of President Pervez Musharraf [official website; BBC profile] in Karachi. Amir Rana, a nephew of Chaudhry, told AP that the chief justice refused a request by Musharraf to resign and that Chaudhry's "movement has been restricted." Musharraf has directed the Supreme Judicial Council [governing constitutional provisions], the oversight body of Pakistan's judiciary, to investigate the allegations against Chaudhry. The council is expected to hear the case against Chaudhry on Tuesday.

Musharraf suspended Chaudhry Friday "after receiving numerous complaints and serious allegations for misconduct, misuse of authority and actions prejudicial to the dignity of the office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan." The reasons behind the allegations remain uncertain, although various private media outlets have recently accuse Chaudhry of nepotism. Chaudhry assumed the position of chief justice in 2005, and has developed a reputation for being willing to investigate alleged government abuses involving the illegal detention of political activists. AP has more.

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