Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Law Society of Upper Canada Calls On Pakistan to Reinstate Constitution

The Law Society of Upper Canada issued a statement Monday, expressing "grave concerns about the dismantling of the rule of law in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:"

The Law Society deplores and condemns the imposition of the Proclamation of Emergency, the suspension of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the dismissal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and over 40 other judges, the abrogation of the rule of law and of the independence of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and the reported detention of at least 3,500 lawyers and civil rights activists.

..."The Law Society stands with its colleagues in Pakistan who are engaged in upholding the Rule of Law at this difficult time. We recognize that lawyers have a unique role to play in sustaining and developing democratic principles and commend our colleagues for their vigilance and their courage. The erosion of respect for the rule of law elsewhere threatens its tenuous position even in the most democratic societies," said Gavin MacKenzie, Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

...The Law Society urges the legal community to intervene in support of members of the legal profession in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in their efforts to maintain the independence of the judiciary and to promote the rule of law.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is the regulatory body that governs Ontario's lawyers. The entire statement, in PDF format, is here.

The Canadian Bar Association has also issued a statement calling for a return to the rule of law in Pakistan.

American Bar Association ABA President William H. Neukom similarly condemned Musharraf's actions, and has called for lawyers to march to the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday:

It is time for us to demonstrate that we share Pakistani lawyers' commitment to justice. Please wear your black suit and join lawyers in Washington, D.C., or in your community as we walk to court on November 14. Together, we will show that Pakistan's lawyers are not fighting alone.

Robert Ambrogi also notes that other demonstrations by lawyers are scheduled to occur in Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles today.

I agree with his comment that a more unified and less-fragmented reponse by the legal profession a whole would have been more impactful.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

Visit our Toronto Law Firm website: www.wiselaw.net


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