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Strike, violence paralyze Pakistan

Story Highlights

• Strike is one of the most successful since Musharraf took over, analysts say
• 49 dead in clashes since Saturday; another 100 wounded
Supreme Court will reconvene Tuesday to hear Chaudhry's case
• Gunmen killed a senior Pakistan Supreme Court official, police said
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Political clashes that began Saturday have left 49 people dead in the southern port city of Karachi, as a general strike took hold across Pakistan in protest over the suspension of the country's chief justice.

Another 100 people have been wounded in the violence. Paramilitary troops, which the Pakistani government gave the authority to shoot on sight, opened fire on protesters in Karachi Monday, killing two and wounding several in an ensuing gunbattle.

Three others were killed in a separate incident, and gunbattles were raging in several parts of the city, police said. (Watch security forces on alert around Karachi Video)

The government announced a curfew and called out the army in Tank, a city in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border. No one was allowed out of their houses, the government said.

The strike, called for by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's opponents, is one of the most successful since he came to power, Pakistan analysts told CNN. Rallies were held, and all of Pakistan's civil and higher courts remained closed in support of chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

His case was to have been heard before the Supreme Court on Monday but was adjourned within minutes after one of 14 judges expected to hear the case refused to sit on the bench. The court will reconvene Tuesday with the 13 remaining justices.

Musharraf removed Chaudhry from his post on March 9, accusing him of misusing his powers to secure a top police job for his son. The dismissal sparked widespread but largely peaceful demonstrations by the nation's attorneys and those who believed Musharraf abused his authority in suspending the country's top judge.

Meanwhile, police said they were investigating the murder of Hammad Raza, a senior Pakistan Supreme Court official, at his home in Islamabad early Monday.

Raza was regarded as a key witness by the legal team representing Chaudhry, a Reuters report said.

Raza, a registrar of the Supreme Court, was shot at point-blank range by two or three gunmen just before dawn at his home in the capital, Islamabad, police and relatives said.

"He was an important person in our case," Munir Ahmed Malik, a lawyer on Chaudhry's legal team, told Reuters.

CNN's Syed Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Police escort demonstrators in Peshawar during a strike called by opposition parties that brought major cities to a standstill.

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