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Tens of Thousands Rally for Top Pakistan Jurist

Posted May 7, 2007 6:02 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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In a continuation of previous protests, tens of thousands of Pakistanis reportedly rallied over the weekend in support of the nation's top judge, who has been suspended by the country's president. The jurist's trip by automobile from Islamabad to Lahore normally takes around four hours but extended to 20 hours as supporters lined his path.

"Nations and states which are based on dictatorship instead of the supremacy of the constitution, the rule of law and protection of basic rights get destroyed,'' Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry told the crowd, according to CNN.

The situation is unprecedented, reports the AP. "Neither a political nor any judicial scene has ever witnessed such an event in Pakistan's history," says Ahsan Bhoon, who is president of the High Court Bar Association in Lahore. "It's the people's verdict for the supremacy of law and the Constitution." Many lawyers are among the protesters.

Chaudhry was suspended two months ago by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who accused him of misusing his office. However, many see the suspension as an attack on human rights and the rule of law, which Chaudhry is perceived as staunchly supporting. Musharraf could declare a state of emergency, according to Reuters, and the Pakistan Supreme Court is expected to review the president's charges against Chaudhry soon.

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