Saturday, March 08, 2008

Solidarity with the democratic forces in Pakistan

Source: March 7, 2008

What goes around comes around? -- by ondelette

At first glance, there would seem to be no reason to turn our attention to a lawyer’s protest in a place 10 time-zones away on the other side of the world. After all, don’t we have enough on our plate in the U.S.? When it comes to rule of law, we have our current debate over amendments to FISA and NSA wiretapping. We have our debate over waterboarding and other newly fashionable U.S. approved tortures (or ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’). We have our current debate over an amorphously defined War on Terror, and our own very real problems with al Qaeda, and terrorists, and war. Why worry about the Pakistani judiciary? Why worry about the restoration of democracy there?

In truth, it is probably always a smaller world than we imagine. Black Flag Week, which starts Monday, is set to commemorate the deposition of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry last year on March 9, 2007, the catalyst of a courageous lawyers' movement - and a political firestorm - that has engulfed Pakistan for months. Along with the subsequent State Emergency declared by President Musharaff on November 3, 2007, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, and the free elections of February 18, 2008, it was a pivotal event, with implications, as things have turned out, worldwide. In Pakistan, many tens of thousands have protested in solidarity with the lawyers, and over the course of the turbulence and the elections, hundreds, like Ms. Bhutto, have lost their lives.

Continued . . .

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