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November 07, 2007

Association Chancellor Jane Dalton Issues Statement on Pakistan

The Philadelphia Bar Association is deeply concerned by the events taking place throughout Pakistan.

As an Association chartered shortly after the conclusion of the United States Constitutional Convention, we are keenly aware that the rule of law and the establishment of a free and independent judiciary are the essential pillars of democracy. We deplore the attacks made on the judges and the courts, the rule of law, and especially on lawyers as officers of the court.

We condemn the actions of the President of Pakistan, who has taken it upon himself to violently attack the lawyers and judges as he systematically shuts down his nation's lawful institutions of justice. That he does this in the name of fighting terrorism is horrible in the extreme. Institutions of democracy should never be victims of fear. It is precisely this strength of democracy that guarantees that a just society may continue, especially in troubled times.

We call on the government of the United States to vigorously urge President Musharraf to restore the democratic institutions, especially the Supreme Court, and all the other Courts, to their former role. We commend and support the Pakistani lawyers who have strongly objected to the violations of the rule of law. 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.

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