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Suspended Pakistan Chief Justice Speaks In Capital


Pakistan's suspended chief justice, who is at the center of a violent political crisis, has told his supporters the judicial branch of government should remain free from the pressure of the executive.

Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry spoke late Saturday outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad.

In March, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf suspended Chaudhry - accusing him of abuse of office.

Chaudhry's ouster triggered a series of public demonstrations against General Musharraf. Earlier this month, Chaudhry canceled plans to speak in Karachi after clashes between his supporters and pro-government activists killed 41 people.

Saturday in Islamabad, Chaudhry spoke to a seminar on "Separation of Power and the Independence of the Judiciary." He told the crowd that an independent judiciary is a strong bulwark against tyrannical rule.

Critics of General Musharraf say his decision to suspend Chaudhry was an effort to ensure re-election by the current parliament. But Mr. Musharraf says he followed judicial rules, and accuses his opponents of politicizing the case.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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