First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Lawyers

November 5th, 2007at 08:49pm Posted by Eli

As JDB points out, that phrase doesn’t mean what some people think it means. It doesn’t mean lawyers suck, it means that lawyers are an inconvenient obstacle if you’re looking to circumvent the rule of law. Which makes it especially apt for what’s happening in Pakistan:

Angry protests by thousands of lawyers in Lahore and other cities Monday demonstrated the first organized resistance to the emergency rule imposed by the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. But the abrupt arrest of many of them threatened to weaken their challenge.

(…)

The strength of the crackdown by baton-wielding police officers who pummeled lawyers and then hauled them by the legs and arms into police wagons in Lahore showed the resolve of the Musharraf government to silence its fiercest opponents.

At one point, lawyers and police clashed in a pitched battle, with lawyers standing on the roof of the High Court throwing stones at the police below, and the police hurling them back. Some of the lawyers were bleeding from the head, and some passed out in the clouds of tear gas.

(…)

There were conflicting estimates of the number of lawyers in jail in Lahore Monday night. Some lawyers said that as many as 500 to 700 of their colleagues were in custody, scattered in groups at various police cells and jails.

In all, about 2,000 people have been rounded up since the imposition of emergency rule Saturday night, lawyers and analysts said.

(…)

The demonstrations were not confined to Lahore. In Multan, a city in the same province, Punjab, as Lahore, two new judges who had taken the oath of office under the emergency rule were forced to leave the courtroom by hundreds of angry lawyers.

“We threatened them, saying: ‘You’ve taken an unconstitutional oath; if you don’t go we will throw eggs at you.’ They left,” said a lawyer from Multan, Riaz Gilani.

Some lawyers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi said they stayed away from the courts because they were warned they would be arrested and possibly beaten.

Despite the warnings, more than 100 lawyers demonstrated outside Islamabad’s main court complex Monday. The lawyers in black suits and ties shouted “Musharraf dog” and “A baton and a bullet will not do.”

Mad props to these Pakistani lawyers for their personal investment in the integrity of the law, and for seeing it as something more than just a tool for making money. Here in the US, we haven’t reached the violent confrontations stage, but many of the best progressive bloggers are lawyers who have the same kind of commitment to the rule of law.

As opposed to conservative lawyers, who are only interested in contorting, subverting, and evading the law to serve their political masters’ interests.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics


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