Thursday, November 08, 2007

Asma Jahangir's Appeal to Support Lawyers and Judges in Pakistan

Asma Jahangir has sent out an urgent e-mail appealing to bar associations all over the world to support the imprisoned lawyers and judges of Pakistan. This is indeed a heartbreaking situation that demands that civilized people all over the world join forces to defeat Musharraf's forces of oppression and terror. Please read her appeal and support Pakistani civil society any way you can. She is a true hero and as long as there are courageous and principled people like her in Pakistan I refuse to lose hope.

Election announcements from Musharraf are useless and the elections under him have no credibility. The constitution and judiciary have to be restored as they were on November 2nd before any elections can take place. There can be no democracy built on the ruins of a destroyed judiciary.


Asma Jahangir

Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions(Since August 1998)

Subject: Fwd: from asma jahangir

I am fortunate to be under house arrest while my colleagues are suffering. The Musharaf government has declared martial law to settle scores with lawyers and judges. While the terrorists remain on the loose and continue to occupy more space in Pakistan, senior lawyers are being tortured.

The civil society of Pakistan urges bar associations all over the world to mobilize public opinion in favor of the judges and lawyers inPakistan. A large number of judges of superior courts are under arrest. Thousands of lawyers are imprisoned, beaten and tortured.

In particular the cases of Muneer A Malik, Aitzaz Ahsan, Tariq Mahmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd are serious. Muneer A Malik, the former President of the Supreme Court BarAssociation and leader of the lawyers' movement has been shifted to the notorious Attack Fort. He is being tortured and is under the custody of the militaryintelligence. Tariq Mahmood, former President of the Supreme Court BarAssociation, was imprisoned in Adiala jail. No one was allowed to see him and it is reported that he has been shifted to an unknown place. Mr. Ali Ahmed Kurd, former Vice Chair of the Pakistan Bar Council is in the custody of military intelligence and being kept at an undisclosed place. Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, President of the SupremeCourt Bar is being kept in Adiala jail in solitary confinement.

Representatives of bar associations should approach their governments to pressure the government of Pakistan to release all lawyers and judges and immediately provide access to Muneer A Malik, Tariq Mahmood, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Aitzaz Ahsan. The bars are also urged to hold press conferences in their country and express their solidarity with the lawyers of Pakistan who are struggling to establish the rule of law.

Asma Jahangir

Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan

Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

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