Police in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore have detained hundreds of people ahead of a planned rally in support of the nation's suspended chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Authorities said Friday about 400 opposition activists have been taken into custody as a preventative measure.

A large demonstration is planned for Saturday in Lahore. Chaudhry is headed to the city to give a speech at the Lahore Court Bar Association.

President Pervez Musharraf suspended Chaudhry in March, charging him with misconduct. Chaudhry and his supporters have argued that his suspension is unconstitutional. Demonstrations have been held across Pakistan since the suspension.

A judicial panel hearing the case against Chaudhry will reconvene on May 9.

Critics of General Musharraf are trying to weaken the judiciary ahead of possible legal challenges to his attempts to continue as Pakistan's president and military chief.

The government has not specified the charges against Chaudhry. Media reports refer to allegations that he used his position to help his son get a public sector job.

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