Shameful Beating of Pakistan Lawyers

Musharraf must go. Hundreds more lawyers were arrested in Pakistan yesterday. The photo is of lawyers shouting slogans as they are being hauled away in police vans and accompanies this Scotsman article describing the lawyers being beaten.

Lawyers protesting yesterday outside the courts in Karachi and Lahore were thrashed by baton-charging police amid clouds of tear gas. About 350 of them were rounded up in Lahore.

Lawyers, judges and human-rights activists appear to have been deemed the enemies of the regime, as the country slides towards totalitarian rule. Since Saturday, between 1,500 and 2,000 have been incarcerated.

"On the pretext of fighting militants, General Musharraf has mounted a coup against Pakistan's civil society," said Brad Adams, the Asia director at the campaign group Human Rights Watch. "It's clear it is aimed solely at keeping himself in power."


The Telegraph:

Riot police advanced on a group of barristers and judges three hours after the start of a peaceful protest near Lahore's High Court.Demonstrators retreated to the court's library as they sought to escape the police. But they were then forced out by tear gas and beaten with canes as they attempted to leave the building.

As one of the protesting lawyers said:

"This is shameful. It is persecution of the courtroom by a dictatorship."

1,500 - 2,000 lawyers and activists have been detained since martial law was imposed. President Bush has called on Pakistan to release them.

So far, it is only the lawyers are protesting the suspension of the Constitution and imposition of martial law. More news at the Financial Times.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan is providing updates. Amnesty International has issued a plea for the lawyers' release.

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    I've been thinking all day about the (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 01:27:38 AM EST
    Senate Judiciary Committee's vote to send the Mukasey nomination to the Senate; the reluctance of one of my senators, Feinstein, to speak up for civil rights; and whether, lawyers in the U.S., including myself, would have the courage or motivation to face danger as the Pakastani legal community has done, to try and preserve the judiciary branch and some semblance of checks and balances.

    So many unthinkables (none / 0) (#5)
    by Lora on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 07:00:29 AM EST
    With all that our rubber-stamp Congress has been doing in recent years, and with all the unthinkables that have happened already in this country, don't think that something similar couldn't happen here.

    Time to take our country back.


    Our lawyers don't have the courage (none / 0) (#9)
    by lilybart on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 08:24:27 AM EST
    or they would already be protesting and they are not.

    Well... I know you mean "in the streets" (1.00 / 0) (#13)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 09:00:32 AM EST
    but Jeralyn's post, and Oculus' comment are protest.

    Those lawyers have courage (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Jen M on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 08:24:30 AM EST
    and plenty of it. I'll never tell another lawyer joke again.

    I only hope they aren't going through this for nothing.

    There is hope though. (1.00 / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 08:42:56 AM EST
    Video here of Benazir Bhutto speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, UK, July 20th, 2007

    Chief justice Chaudhry has manged to get hold (1.00 / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 04:41:54 AM EST
    of a phone and make a speech to the protesting lawyers:
    Islamabad, Pakistan - In a telephone address to lawyers in Pakistan's capital, the ousted chief justice of the Supreme Court urged them today to continue to defy the state of emergency imposed by the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

    "The lawyers should convey my message to the people to rise up and restore the Constitution," the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, told dozens of lawyers on speakerphone at a meeting of the Islamabad Bar Association before his cellphone line was cut. "I am under arrest now, but soon I will also join you in your struggle."

    Today, the second day of protests, the police arrested 50 lawyers in the eastern city of Lahore and clashes broke out between hundreds of lawyers and Pakistani police officers in Multan, about 200 miles to the southwest. On Monday, in Lahore and other cities, thousands of lawyers protested, with many beaten by baton-wielding police officers and then thrown into police wagons. By the end of that day, about 2,000 people had been rounded up by the authorities, among them 500 to 700 lawyers, according to lawyers and political officials.

    It was unclear how Chief Justice Chaudhry, who was fired on Saturday and is under house arrest, was able to gain access to a cellphone. He and other lawyers said they hoped to re-create the protest campaign they carried out this spring when the lawyers mounted big rallies in major cities after General Musharraf had removed Chief Justice Chaudhry from the Supreme Court bench. General Musharraf's popularity plummeted during the protests, and Mr. Chaudhry was reinstated after four months, invigorating the Supreme Court and the general's opponents.

    If our govt.... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 05:40:40 AM EST
    continues to support Musharraf after this, we risk making enemies of all the Pakistanis who cherish freedom, justice, and democracy.

    I'd cut all our financial aid off immediately until democracy is restored and the protesters are released.

    Democracy? (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by squeaky on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 05:27:52 PM EST
    That would be a disaster for america. It also comes as no surprise that they are arresting those who are fighting for democracy and the rule of law and their constitution while they are letting the extremists run amok.

    The extremists are what give these dictators their power. The dictators need them. Fear keeps these maniacs in power with the help of bedwetter moderate middle class who trade democracy for kool aid.  Sound familiar?


    I read recently that Musharaff's government (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 05:45:07 PM EST
    devotes pitifully little resources to trying to control terrorists in the Western mountainous areas, despite the enormous amount of money the U.S. is devoting to him and his military.  The money goes to industries controlled and run by the junta and to armaments, bombers, training the army etc.

    It is my understanding we support Musharaff because he is not allied with the Islamic faction of Pakistan and because he permits us to stage our invasion of Iraq partly from Pakistan.


    My Understanding As Well (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by squeaky on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 05:56:02 PM EST
    That he uses the 10 billion US counterterrorism money for himself. Just like the Neocons, Mushareff needs a healthy and vital group of extremists in order to maintain control, so why should he waste the money on combating extremists.

    I think Musharaff's healthy, vital (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 01:36:20 AM EST
    group of supporters consists of the army and Pakistani's who fear an Islamic theocracy.  Well, and the Bush administration.

    His Support (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by squeaky on Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 01:57:56 AM EST
    From the army is not so great.
    Meanwhile Musharraf sent his police to arrest lawyers, liberal politicians, and human rights activists, while doing virtually nothing against those Taliban in their scary turbans, who are taking over Swat:

    Why is this happening? Because an illegitimate military regime could not motivate the security forces it has trained for jihad in defense of Islamic Pakistan to fight against domestic jihadis, even if it really wanted to.


    Pakistani troops and police are surrendering rather than fight the militants at the behest of a dictator beholden to the U.S.

    Worth a read. Barnett Rubin sums up the situation in Pakistan and surprise surprise it is a different story than the MSM is feeding us.


    Support him? (1.00 / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 07:00:41 AM EST
    I wouldn't be surprised to find that they gave him the go ahead - and that all of Bush and Rice's feigned shock is exactly that.

    Me either.... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 08:07:10 AM EST
    I put nothing past them...it wouldn't be the first time.

    Ironic(?) (1.00 / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 08:27:03 AM EST
    that the Bush administration may have to turn to Iran for help if Pakistan implodes.

    How many times can these people shoot themselves in both feet?


    Musharraf Is No Lincoln (none / 0) (#4)
    by john horse on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 05:49:41 AM EST
    As outrageous as Musharraf's attack on democratic institutions is, to add insult to injury he invokes Abraham Lincoln in order to justify it.  To quote Musharraf "...he (Lincoln) broke laws, he violated the Constitution, he usurped arbitrary power, he trampled individual liberties..."  

    To borrow that famous line from Lloyd Bentson, "General Musharraf, we (the American people) knew Abraham Lincoln and you're no Abraham Lincoln."

    Apparently Musharraf was following the lead of Bush apologists.  They also cited Lincoln to support the suspension of habeas.  Thanks a lot fellas.

    sounds familiar (none / 0) (#7)
    by Deconstructionist on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 07:54:31 AM EST
    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

    -- Dick the Butcher

    They are quite brave. (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 05:45:55 PM EST