Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007
More than 100 attorneys and supporters gathered outside the Statehouse on Tuesday to support the restoration of civil liberties in Pakistan.
MBA takes a stand for Pakistani colleagues
On Tuesday, MBA President David W. White Jr. was a featured speaker at an afternoon demonstration on the main steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse—an event held in support of legal colleagues in Pakistan.
The rally, attended by 100 or so supporters, was coordinated by the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and included representation and speaking remarks from the NLG, MBA, Amnesty International USA, the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the South Asian Bar Association. In addition to the Boston demonstration, NLG orchestrated simultaneous rallies in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, to display solidarity with lawyers in Pakistan who have been beaten and jailed for opposing the suspension of constitutional rights in their country.
Following introductory remarks from Judy Somberg, executive vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, White cited the Pakistani Constitution and described the actions of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as having violated its tenants with his Nov. 3 emergency declaration that suspended the country’s constitution and deprived the Pakistani citizens of their basic rights and liberties.
“And look who is standing up to the dictator—thousands of lawyers, and so many of the brave judges, who understand the need to protect those fundamental rights. They are now being held in detention, with their rights of due process being violated,” said White, whose comments were met with applause from the lively crowd assembled on Beacon Street.
In addition to NLG’s call for action on Tuesday, the American Bar Association organized a rally on Wednesday at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C. Bar associations across the country have participated in and supported these rallies.