PAKISTAN: Lawyer’s movement is the ‘vanguard of democracy’

Published on Asian Human Rights Commission Hong Kong, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, AHRC-STM-053-2008, March 3, 2008.

An excerpt: … Some positive outcomes of the movement are that:

  • 1) The lawyers will not sit aloof in future political affairs and will continuously monitor the developments and pace of the rule of law.
  • 2) Human rights issues will dominate politics and will not be so easy to dismiss as it was before March 9, 2007. The courts will be filled by public litigation cases and decisions of the judiciary will be discussed openly by the public including the media.
  • 3) A strong civil society will emerge on common points, particularly for an independent judiciary without any political and official interference.
  • 4) It was evident that the media and particularly the journalists have strongly supported the movement of the lawyers, without which it would have not been possible for the lawyers to keep the movement running. They have proved their independent position for the rule of law, supremacy of judiciary and freedom of expression. So for future governments it will be difficult to put this Djin back in the bottle. The journalists will continue to monitor the issues of corruption, nepotism, violations of human rights and curbs against their professional duties. The movement for freedom of expression will also have its intervention in the judicial affairs and the media cannot be stopped by any means to discuss the decisions of even the judiciary which was thought to be a ‘sacred cow’ in Pakistan. Each and every aspect of the judiciary will become a public affair.
  • 5) The ‘law of necessity’ may be invoked but it will never again have any credible impact in the public mind.
  • 6) It will also be difficult for the legislators to make amendments in the constitution according to their wishes or to please the powerful lobbies. After the lawyer’s movement there would such strong checks and balances on their actions that there would be an open fight between legislators and civil society.

… (full text).

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