Thursday, November 08, 2007

SABA Condemns the "State of Emergency" in Pakistan

San Francisco, November 8, 2007 -- The South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA) condemns the "state of emergency" declared in Pakistan on November 3rd, 2007 by President General Pervez Musharraf, his suspension of civil rights, and the ensuing state violence against the Pakistani judiciary, bar, pro-democracy activists, human rights organizations and independent media.

In recent days, the Pakistani military state has beaten and jailed a staggering number of lawyers and judges for supporting an independent judiciary and for opposing military dictatorship. Victims include Muneer Malik, past President of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, whom SABA recently honored at a joint event with the Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers. In fact, a majority of the Supreme Court justices and their families have been put under house arrest for refusing to give their imprimatur to President Musharraf's overthrow of constitutional governance.

We stand in solidarity with fellow lawyers who are fending off bayonets, batons and bullets in the streets of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and other Pakistani cities to defend the rule of law. This military crackdown violates international law and threatens the freedom and liberty of all Pakistanis.

SABA calls on President Musharraf immediately to end the "state of emergency," to restore the judiciary, and to release all lawyers imprisoned for opposing the military state. As South Asian attorneys, we add our voices to the chorus of: "Qanoon ki baladasti, zindabad! Long live the rule of law!" We call on all lawyers to support the sacrifice of our colleagues in Pakistan and work towards their immediate release.

Media Contact: Supriya Sundarrajan

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