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Pakistani Judicial Panel Adjourns Case Against Suspended Chief Justice


A top judicial panel in Pakistan has adjourned a hearing on the case against the nation's chief justice until next week, as protests over his ouster turned violent in the capital, Islamabad.

Suspended chief Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry appeared Friday before Pakistan's Supreme Judicial Council, which postponed his hearing until March 21.

Before the proceedings began, riot police used tear gas to disperse opposition lawmakers, lawyers and activists gathered near Pakistan's Supreme Court in the capital. Opposition members were arrested when they tried to break through a police barricade around the court.

Demonstrations also were reported in the cities of Karachi and Lahore.

Supporters of the chief justice have been holding daily protests ever since military ruler President Pervez Musharraf pulled the chief justice from the bench last week for alleged "misuse of authority."

Details of the case against Chaudhry have not been made public.

During Friday's unrest in Islamabad, Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency, confronted police and called on General Musharraf to resign. He has promised to accept the panel's ruling.

Justice Chaudhry is known for his judicial independence and has ruled several times against the Pakistan government.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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