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Pakistan blocks roads into capital to discourage rallies for ousted chief justice

Pakistan blocks roads into capital to discourage rallies for ousted chief justice

Police strung barbed wire and parked trucks to block all main roads into Pakistan's capital ahead of Thursday's hearing on a case against the country's ousted chief justice.
Lawyers, right activists and supporters of the political opposition have been holding rallies against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf since March 9, when he removed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry after receiving complaints that the judge had misused his office.
Critics say Musharraf has tried to get rid the independent-minded Chaudhry ahead of possible legal challenges to Musharraf's continued rule. The general seized power in a coup in 1999, and pledged to restore democracy.
Although he held parliamentary elections in 2002, his opponents insist the polls were not free and fair.
Ahead of Thursday's rally, police used barbed wire, shipping containers and private trucks to block main routes including Faizabad Road, which links the capital, Islamabad, with the nearby city of Rawalpindi. Many lawyers from outside had been expected to gather in Islamabad to support Chaudhry.
Despite the blockades, hundreds greeted the ousted judge as he arrived at the Supreme Court in Islamabad to face charges against him.
"We are with you! You are our chief justice," the demonstrators chanted.
Earlier, Chaudhry's defense attorney Aitzaz Ahsan told reporters that the five-judge panel hearing the case had asked him to finish his arguments Thursday so that the government lawyers could respond.
"I will finish my arguments as asked by the Supreme Judicial Council, although I needed more time," Ahsan said.
He gave no further details.


Updated : 2021-04-11 22:18 GMT+08:00