Since Saturday, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan has suspended the national constitution, detained eight members of the Supreme Court and arrested more than 1,500 Pakistani lawyers.
This is a profound breach of the rule of law. The American Bar Association urges President Musharraf to rescind these actions immediately.
Courts are society’s referees. A judiciary that can impartially apply fair rules, without outside interference, is a cornerstone of lawful government.
President Musharraf sought to justify his actions by citing the threat of terrorism. But shutting down a nation’s lawful institutions of justice will hurt, not help, the fight against terrorism.
The ABA, which represents more than 413,000 members worldwide, has a longstanding commitment to advancing the rule of law. When a nation’s constitution is suspended, and its Supreme Court is shut down, that is a blow to the rule of law everywhere.
The ABA therefore calls on all governments, bar associations and other civil society organizations to support the rule of law, by using every peaceful, legal means to persuade President Musharraf to restore justice to the people of Pakistan.