Judge supporters rally in Pakistan
Supporters of suspended chief justice denounce General Pervez Musharraf.
The crowd burst into applause at the arrival of Chaudhry, who’s suspension by Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, on March 9 triggered violent protests in Pakistan.
Chaudhry is fighting an ongoing legal battle to keep his position as Pakistan’s chief justice.
Musharraf says Chaudhry was suspended for misconduct, but the president’s opponents say he wants to weaken the courts and avoid a legal challenge to his bid to remain army chief past the constitutional time limit, which would come to an end at the close of 2007.
‘Era of dictatorship’
Chaudhry’s last planned address, in Karachi two weeks ago, was cancelled after his arrival at the local airport sparked fighting involving opposing political factions and ethnic groups that left 42 dead.
Musharraf has blamed Chaudhry and his supporters for the rioting in Karachi, saying that they had politicised the situation and stoked tensions in the city.
In an address in Lahore three weeks ago, Chaudhry appeared to issue a direct challenge to Musharraf, declaring the “era of dictatorship is over”.
Musharraf later countered with a rally in Islamabad, where he warned: “Do not challenge us. We are not cowards like you. We have the power of the people.”
Lawyers across Pakistan boycotted courts on Saturday in solidarity with Chaudhry, bringing the legal system to a standstill.