The Law Society is calling for lawyers to participate in a demonstration at Downing Street about developments in Pakistan.
Supporting lawyers in Pakistan
Thursday 08 November 2007
The Law Society, the Bar Council, and the Association of Muslim Lawyers have raised strong concerns about the treatment of lawyers in Pakistan following their demonstrations in support of the rule of law. Andrew Holroyd, Law Society president said:
‘Events in Pakistan must be of concern to everyone who supports the rule of law, and they underline once again that the rule of law is nothing without lawyers. I can think of no starker demonstration of this commitment to the law than the extraordinary courage, fortitude and bravery of the lawyers we see in Pakistan.’
The issues debated
On 7 November, Mr Holroyd met Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders. Other attendees included the Bar Council, and the International Bar Association Institute of Human Rights.
Ms Jilani informed us that 300 lawyers have been arrested and imprisoned in Lahore, after being charged with anti-terrorism offences. It is reported that at least one in four of all lawyers in Pakistan are now under arrest, including the Chief Justice and the President of the Supreme Bar Association of Pakistan. All members of the Pakistan judiciary have been asked to sign allegiance to the new constitution and they are arrested if they refuse. We understand that 80% of the judiciary have refused to sign.
Ms Jilani said that these issues transcend national borders. She emphasised that a public show of support provides crucial encouragement to the beleaguered judges, lawyers and human rights activists in Pakistan.
Show your support
Solicitors are encouraged to attend a demonstration opposite 10 Downing St on Saturday 10 November from 14:00 – 16:00. The demonstration, organised by the Campaign Against Martial Law in Pakistan aims to:
- stop martial rule in Pakistan
- demand that all political prisoners are released now
- demand that the judiciary is restored
- demand that democracy is restored
The protest will be led by Hina Jilani. Jemima Khan and others will be present at the demonstration. Phone 07939 782872 for more details.
The Law Society has written to officials in Pakistan, and to UK Foreign Minister David Miliband expressing its concerns.
Letter to Pakistan’s president (PDF, 300kb)
Letter to David Miliband (PDF, 148kb)
Letter to Pakistan’s Minister for the Interior (PDF, 300kb)
Letter to Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights (PDF, 300kb)