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US Expresses ;Deep Concern Over Ouster of Pakistan Chief Justice

  • VOA News

The United States says it considers the dismissal and detention of Pakistan's chief justice by President Pervez Musharraf "a matter of deep concern."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday Washington is monitoring the situation closely and wants the case resolved openly in accordance with Pakistani law.

General Musharraf suspended Chief Justice Muhammad Chaudhry last week for alleged misuse of authority. The top judge is now confined to his home in the capital, Islamabad.

The Pakistani leader said Thursday he will not interfere in the case as criticism over his move to pull Judge Chaudhry from the bench mounts.

He said the nation's top judicial accountability panel will reconvene Friday to hear the closed-door case against the chief justice and that he will accept the panel's ruling.

Specific charges against Justice Chaudhry have not been made public.

Critics of the suspension have called for a nationwide strike on Friday. Lawyers and activists across Pakistan have staged days of demonstrations against the suspension and his detention.

Late last week, General Musharraf said he had received complaints that Chaudhry was misusing his authority. He suspended the justice and appointed an acting chief justice.

Chaudhry has defiantly vowed that he will not resign from his post.

Chaudhry recently pressured Pakistan's government for information on the whereabouts of more than 140 missing people who allegedly are being held by Pakistani intelligence agencies.
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