US legal bar chief says events in Pakistan shocking, calls for restoration of rule of law

November 17th, 2007 - 1:17 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov.17 (ANI): Lawyers affiliated to the American Bar Association and other legal representative institutions have described the unfolding events in Pakistan as shocking and immediate.
While they admit that to many Americans the breakdown of a system in Pakistan may be of vague and routine importance because it relates to happenings in a distant land, the American legal fraternity chooses to see the declaration of emergency by the Musharraf regime as an Unprecedented incident.
In an article for the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), William H. Neukom, the President of the American Bar Association (ABA), says: We see our fellow lawyers and judges in Pakistan doing something dangerous and heroic: standing up to police and soldiers, subjecting themselves to arrest for such ideals as the “Rule of Law” and an “independent judiciary.”
Their bravery reminds us that these ideals are not abstract at all. They are the difference between nations of justice and law, and unchecked tyrannies. This crisis reminds us how precious, and fragile, the rule of law is in the United States and in all nations, he adds.
Neukom further goes on to reveal that the American Bar Association and other bar groups have called on General Musharraf to restore the Constitution, re-instate the Supreme Court justices, and free those lawyers he has wrongly arrested.
As lawyers, we see it as no coincidence that Musharraf targeted his crackdown on his nation’s legal community, as well as on the press and other organs of civil society. Like a free press, judges and lawyers who are free from intimidation and outside influence are essential checks to raw power, he says.
To advocates of the rule of law, the recent actions in Pakistan are worse than a misfortune; they are a catastrophic reversal of values we hold dear. And in a world threatened by terrorism and rising autocrats, they make our world more dangerous, not less, Neukom warns.
The loss of a Constitution and the arrest of thousands of lawyers and judges, including those on the Supreme Court, cannot be ignored. Lawful government in Pakistan is the best way to assure security and justice, he concludes. (ANI)

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