Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pakistan Engulfed By The GWOT: 'How Do You Function As A Lawyer When The Law Is What The General Says It Is?'

Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf continues his assault on his nation's legal system,
as The Daily Times reported:
The police on Tuesday cordoned off the district courts premises and refused entry to lawyers, litigants and stamp sellers except judges and their staff.

City Police Officer (CPO) Saud Aziz visited the district courts to monitor the situation.

A number of litigants complained that proclamation of emergency had multiplied their woes, as they did not know when the courts would open.
The Pakistani press has been muzzled and dare not report much, but the reactions have been intense, as Jane Perlez reported for the New York Times:
Hundreds of lawyers took to the streets again [Wednesday] in the eastern [Pakistani] city of Lahore and in Multan, about 200 miles to the southwest of Lahore. The police arrested scores of protesters, and more than 100 lawyers were injured in street battles.

In interviews on Tuesday, a day after hundreds were tear-gassed, beaten and rounded up by the police, the lawyers said they had taken to the streets because they felt that Pakistan’s first taste of judicial independence was being snatched away.

“How do you function as a lawyer when the law is what the general says it is?” said a prominent Islamabad lawyer, Babar Sattar, who has a Harvard law degree.
Indeed. The assault on the Rule of Law, otherwise known as the War on Terror, continues.
Athar Minallah, who holds a master’s degree in law from Cambridge and was in General Musharraf’s cabinet during the first two years of his rule, said lawyers were outraged that the general was moving backward.
Mr. Minallah said [...] “Musharraf is targeting the liberal forces of this country. Yet they are the ones who want to fight extremism.”
And that's exactly the point. The War on the Rule of Law would not be possible without the extremists -- on both sides.

There's a lot more going on but none of it looks good. What were we expecting?