[JURIST] At least eleven people have reportedly died and several dozen others have sustained injuries in Pakistan [JURIST news archive] in conjunction with a Saturday rally in Karachi in support of suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive]. Activists had gathered to protest the decision of President Pervez Musharraf [official website] to suspend Chaudhry amid ongoing violence in the country. AP has more.
Chaudhry was technically made "non-functional" [JURIST report] by a March 9 order of Musharraf. No specifics were provided at the time of his suspension but documents subsequently disclosed [JURIST report] suggest he was officially removed on suspicion of misusing his influence to get his son jobs and promotions. Lawyers and opposition leaders critical of the move consider the suspension an assault on the independence of the country's judiciary and an indirect bid by Musharraf to continue his eight-year rule in an election year. Pakistan's Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) began an inquiry into Chaudhry's alleged misconduct, but the investigation was suspended [JURIST report] Monday after Chaudhry appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the SJC lacked competence to try him. The Supreme Court Tuesday created a special panel of judges [JURIST report] to hear the challenge.