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President vs. Chief Justice: Showdown in Pakistan

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President vs. Chief Justice: Showdown in Pakistan

In Karachi , over the past two days, over 40 people have been killed in street violence between supporters and opponents of Pakistani President Musharraf.

People are still angry at Musharraf from the suspension of the Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry decided not to go down quietly, so he's fighting the suspension and touring the country  to demonstrate his popular support.

Today a key witness supporting Chaudhry’s legal case was killed by gunmen.

Monday, opposition groups organized the largest general strike since General Musharraf took power in 1999.  The government responded by declaring a national holiday, banning public assemblies, while allegedly allowing pro-government gunmen to operate with impunity and ordering the army to shoot protestors on sight.

Human rights NGOs hold General Musharraf responsible for the bloodshed and the blockade of the TV network covering the demonstrations.  The chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called it a “preplanned attack on civil society…to deny people their freedom of expression and opposition”.

I spoke to Khalid Hasan , U.S. correspondent for  Pakistan ‘s Daily Times about the recent turmoil over the sacking of Chief Justice Chaudhry. 

He told Jerome this week's violence could be the last straw for the Musharraf government.

Tuesday's News in the Daily Star:
* Seven killed in further Karachi violence
* Strike also observed in Lahore, Peshawar, Pindi, Quetta
* 10,000 lawyers protest in Lahore

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