Lawyers at Statehouse rally show support for Pakistan colleagues

Issue December 2007 By Tricia M. Oliver

MBA President David W. White Jr. was a featured speaker at the Nov. 13 demonstration on the main steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse in support of legal col- leagues 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 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 orchest-rated 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.

White said Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf violated the tenets of the country’s constitution when he issued a Nov. 3 emergency declaration that suspended the constitution and deprived Pakistani citizens of their basic rights and liberties. Judy Somber, executive vice presi- dent of the National Lawyers Guild, presented introduc- tory remarks.

“And look who is standing up to the dictator — thou- sands 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 com- ments were met with applause from the lively crowd assembled on Beacon Street.

In addition to NLG’s call for action, the American Bar Association organized a rally on Nov. 14 at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Bar associations across the country have participated in and supported these rallies.