Stand for democracy with Pakistan's lawyers
Like so many others, I am deeply disturbed by the recent events in Pakistan, where President Pervez Musharraf has suspended the national constitution, detained eight members of the Supreme Court, and arrested thousands of Pakistani lawyers who were peacefully protesting the dismantling of their legal system.
Musharraf seeks to justify his emergency rule by citing the threat of terrorism. In reality, by arresting nonterrorists and shutting down an independent judiciary, he empowers terrorists. An independent and unbiased court system is fundamental to the survival of a free society.
Next week, lawyers everywhere will be showing their support for Pakistani lawyers in many ways. The American Bar Association is planning a march in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14, where lawyers in black suits will gather and walk around the U.S. Supreme Court building. Parallel events will take place throughout our country on the same day.
The rule of law is the foundation of civilized society, and lawyers are the guardians of the rule of law. Their role is never more important than when the survival of the rule of law is at risk.
I urge Michigan residents and my fellow lawyers to show support for their Pakistani counterparts and to encourage our own government to support the release of the detained judges, lawyers and human rights activists, and the restoration of the rule of law in Pakistan.
Ronald D. Keefe
President, State Bar of Michigan