Wednesday, November 7, 2007

U.S. lawyers decry Pakistan’s actions

The Maryland State Bar Association has joined the American Bar Association in condemning Pakistan’s suspension of its national constitution and rule of law, the arrest of more than 1,500 Pakistan lawyers and the detention of eight members of that country’s Supreme Court.

"This is a profound breach of the rule of law, the cornerstone of a lawful society,” the MSBA said in a statement today urging Pakistan President Musharraf to rescind these actions.

The bar association’s numbers were based on accounts as of Nov. 5. CNN yesterday put the figure at 3,000, out of a total bar of 12,000 — in other words, one in four Pakistan lawyers.

“President Musharraf is justifying his actions by citing the threat of terrorism,” the MSBA statement said, tracking the language used by ABA President William H. Neukom on Monday.

“But shutting down a nation’s lawful institutions of justice will hurt, not help, the fight against terrorism. Courts are society’s referees. A judiciary that can impartially apply fair rules, without outside interference, is the foundation of lawful government. … The organized Bar supports the use of peaceful, legal means to persuade President Musharraf to restore justice to the people of Pakistan.”

Above: Two lawyers are arrested after a protest of over 200 lawyers against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in the the city court district of Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007. AP Photo.

-BARBARA GRZINCIC, Managing Editor, Law


XLegalLady said...

Pehaps he's been reading Shakespeare and wants to get rid of those who would stand in the way of a democratic society.

Of course, my reference is to the often misquoted:

"The first thing we do let’s kill all the lawyers."

-Henry VI, Part 2, Act 4, Scene 2

Peter said...

Or maybe Mr. Musharref got his hands on an internal Justice Department memo on tort reform.

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times suggested as much in her New York Times column on Wednesday, penning a Bush "Second Inaugural do-over," which in pertinent part she imagined the president musing:

"Sometimes when the soul of a nation speaks, we must listen. But if that soul is housed in a bunch of trial lawyers wearing identical dark suits and calling my man Mushy a 'dog,' I say, bring on the batons. Police tear-gassing lawyers is really just a foreign version of tort reform, which I support."

I guess it's just a matter of perspective.