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Hindu Judge Becomes Pakistan's Acting Chief Justice

Muslim majority Pakistan has sworn in a senior Hindu judge as acting chief justice amid a judicial crisis that has jolted the country's president, Pervez Musharraf.

Rana Bhagwandas replaced justice Javed Iqbal Saturday, who was acting as chief judge after President Musharraf removed Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry on March 9 for alleged abuse of authority.

Chaudhry has denied the charges.

Lawyers and opposition parties have held nationwide protests since Chaudhry was removed. Critics say the president is trying to interfere with the independence of the judiciary.

On Friday, General Musharraf urged the nation's lawyers to help ease the political crisis and urged Pakistanis to help fight extremism and terrorism in the country.

Several legal professionals in Pakistan have resigned in protest of Chaudhry's removal.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.