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Media Advisory
November 7, 2007
Contact: Oroma Mpi, 212-382-6713

NYC Bar Association denounces suspension of Pakistan’s Constitution

NEW YORK—In a letter to General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, the New York City Bar Association today denounced the suspension of the Pakistani Constitution, the loss of an independent judiciary and the undermining of the rule of law. The letter, sent by NYC Bar President Barry Kamins, decries President Musharraf’s efforts to suppress free speech, free press, and free assembly.

Though international human rights standards and Article 16 of Pakistan’s Constitution protect the right to assemble peacefully, numerous reports of police attacks against non-violent protesters, many of whom are lawyers, have surfaced this week. In its letter, the NYC Bar denounces the silencing of private news outlets and the arrests and mistreatment of those who have openly opposed General Musharraf’s emergency rule.

The letter also condemns the removal of sitting justices on the Supreme Court and their replacement with judges newly appointed under the Provisional Constitutional Order. Such action undermines an independent judiciary which is vital to a democratic society, the letter states.

“In suspending the Constitution by a Provisional Constitutional Order, you have severely damaged the balance between security and freedom that was tenuous at best since the original suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry in March of this year,” writes Kamins.

The NYC Bar Association urges the release of individuals detained without charges, and calls on General Musharraf to lift emergency rule and reinstate the Constitution.

A copy of the Bar Association’s letter can be found here:
http://www.nycbar.org/pdf/report/Musharraf_Nov7.pdf

Video of the Nov. 13 rally in support of Pakistani lawyers and judges can be found here

About the Association
The New York City Bar Association (www.nycbar.org) was founded in 1870, and since then has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.

 

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