[JURIST] Hundreds of supporters of suspended Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive] gathered in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore Saturday, showering Chaudhry with rose petals as he prepared to depart to the city of Multan to address a group of lawyers. Supporters and members of the opposition party also waved banners urging Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to resign and supporting judicial independence.
On Thursday, an estimated 5,000 lawyers and opposition members protested Chaudhry's March 9 suspension [JURIST report] in Lahore. The lawyers were participating in a once-a-week boycott in cities across Pakistan. In May, similar demonstrations led to clashes between protesters and police [JURIST report]. On Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid M. Kasuri [official profile] said that Musharraf will not resort to martial law [JURIST report] in the midst of the protests because it would be "unconstitutional." Anne Woods Patterson, current nominee to serve as US ambassador to Pakistan, testified before Congress Wednesday that the State Department is confident that Musharraf's government will respect the ruling of the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] on the chief justice's removal, adding that she was confident that Musharraf will not declare a state of emergency and suspend the constitution. AFP has more.