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Pakistan lawyers protest outside latest hearing for suspended chief justice

[JURIST] Thousands of protesters rallied outside the Pakistan Supreme Court [official website] Tuesday wearing signs and shouting chants against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official profile; BBC profile] for suspending [JURIST report] the country's chief justice last month as a hearing regarding the suspension took place inside the court. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry [official profile] was removed from his post by Musharraf for accusations that he abused his position by pushing police officials into giving his son a job [JURIST report] and taking advantage of unwarranted privileges. Lawyers and political opponents, however, view Musharraf's decision as a means to control the judiciary in an attempt to continue his eight-year rule in an election year.

Since Chaudhry was suspended, many lawyers and senior judges have resigned [JURIST report] and boycotted courts [JURIST report] across Pakistan in an effort to prompt Chaudhry's reinstatement. Chaudhry denies any wrongdoing and has called for the hearings to be made public [JURIST report]. The chief justice has been active in cases involving people allegedly abducted by state security personnel and the privatization of state assets and has handed down decisions which many say Musharraf views as a threat to his continued rule. AP has more. BBC has additional coverage.

10:50 AM ET - Chaudhry's hearing has been adjourned until April 13. Chaudhry's lawyers argued Tuesday that the proceedings should be open, but the prosecution opposed that idea. The judges hearing the case refused to make an immediate decision. PTI has more.

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