RESOLUTION ON PAKISTAN
WHEREAS, an indefinite state of emergency was imposed by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007, possibly to extend through parliamentary elections in January of 2008;
WHEREAS, under the state of emergency, by Provisional Constitution Order, President Musharraf has suspended the Constitution, dismissed the Supreme Court, reportedly detained certain members of the Supreme Court under house arrest, shut down elements of the free press, arrested and mistreated lawyers and others engaged in peaceful protest;
WHEREAS, reports of preemptory arrests, public beatings, and actions taken to stifle press outlets that have broadcast photographs of police violence against lawyers have generated outrage within the legal community and among concerned citizens around the world;
WHEREAS, the removal of sitting justices of the Supreme Court, ostensibly for acting at cross purposes to the fight against terrorism, has been followed with replacement of judges newly appointed under the Provisional Order;
WHEREAS, freedom of the press, freedom of speech and the freedom to assemble peacefully are cornerstones of democracy;
WHEREAS, an independent judiciary, legal system and a constitution recognizing universal human rights are vital for the maintenance of lawful societies;
WHEREAS, the arrests of Pakistan's Supreme Court justices, and of thousands of lawyers, judges and civil leaders, are a profound breach of the rule of law and a threat to the rule of law in all nations.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Governors finds the recent attacks in Pakistan made on judges and the courts, and especially on lawyers as officers of the court, are deplorable and a profound breach of the rule of law.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we commend and support the Pakistani lawyers who have strongly objected to the violations of the rule of law.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge all Americans to stand together with the advocates of justice in Pakistan, for the violation of democracy in one country is a violation to democracy worldwide.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call on President Musharraf to immediately lift the state of emergency and restore the rule of law ; to reinstate Pakistan's Supreme Court justices; and to free those lawyers and civil leaders who have been wrongly jailed.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call on the government of the United States to vigorously urge President Musharraf to restore the democratic institutions to their former role.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor is authorized to communicate the aforesaid to Pakistani officials, including General Pervez Musharraf, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, the Pakistan Bar Council and members of the press.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: NOVEMBER 29, 2007