It’s very moving to watch how Pakistan’s courageous lawyers have emerged, for the second time this year, as the vanguard of resistance to the Musharraf government.
Angry protests by thousands of lawyers in Lahore and other cities on Monday were the first organized demonstrations opposing the emergency rule imposed by the General’s dictatorship. Their brave support for the rule of law, democratic institutions and human rights reminded me of Garrett Epps’ proposal that a Nobel Prize in Law be given every year.
As Pakistan’s lawyers put their lives on the line to defend the rule of law and human rights, one can’t help thinking of the torture-writing lawyers who’ve filled positions in the Bush Administration. Linked to that is this Administration’s ugly hypocrisy: exporting democracy abroad while subverting the rule of law at home and abroad–obstructing the International Criminal Court, spitting on the Geneva Conventions, condoning torture.
As Epps wrote, “One of the hallmarks of authoritarianism today, as in times past, is its unremitting hostility to law and its demand for docility before the state and the powerful interests it protects.” Is it a surprise that the anti-democratic Bush Administration would place the US’s trust and money in an openly anti-democratic Pakistani regime?