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Lawyer for Pakistan' Suspended Chief Justice Asserts 'Personal Malice' by Musharraf

A lawyer representing Pakistan's suspended chief justice says President Pervez Musharraf acted maliciously when he pulled the justice from the bench.

Attorney Aitzaz Ahsan told the Supreme Court in Islamabad Tuesday that General Musharraf was acting out of "personal malice" against justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry.

Chaudhry's legal team contends that in early March, the military ruler called the justice to his office and tried to pressure him to resign. The lawyers say Chaudhry refused, which led General Musharraf to suspend him March 9 on accusations of abuse of office.

Chaudhry's team says the suspension was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is to rule on Chaudhry's challenge to the proceedings.

General Musharraf says he followed judicial rules, and he accuses his critics of politicizing the case.

The justice's suspension has led to widespread protests by the lawyers, opposition politicians and activists.

Fighting in Karachi between Chaudhry's supporters and pro-government activists this month killed 41 people.

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