Press Release: Pakistan Crackdown: November 2007

Canadian lawyers urge Musharraf to end to military rule in Pakistan

Stop attacking judges and protesters: Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights

For immediate release

TORONTO, November 14, 2007 – Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR) today stands in solidarity with the legal community in Pakistan in calling on the government of Pakistan to immediately return to constitutional rule, restore human rights to its citizens and remove the restrictions it has placed on the media. On November 3, 2007, Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf suspended his country’s constitution and issued a declaration of emergency rule, ordering paramilitary troops to surround the Supreme Court with the judges still inside. Since then General Musharraf dismissed the Chief Justice, as well as numerous other lower court judges. In the days following, citizens of Pakistan have engaged in peaceful protests across the country, demanding that the constitution be re-instated and that the government respect the independence of the judiciary. Police and paramilitary troops have violently suppressed these protests and have detained thousands of protesters, including hundreds of lawyers, under charges of terrorism. Many more have been detained without charge, and have been denied access to lawyers and family members. As of November 13, 2007, almost two-thirds of Pakistan’s senior judges remain under house-arrest. “This situation is particularly disturbing because of the clear targeting those who are dedicated to upholding the rule of law in Pakistan,” says Jillian Siskind, President of CLAIHR. “All of us who value the rule of law need to stand together to support the legal community in Pakistan to restore the constitution in that country and ensure that human rights are respected.”

About Candian Lawyers for International Human Rights

CLAIHR is an organization of Canadian lawyers, academics and law students who advocate for the promotion of international human rights within Canada and abroad.

For further information

David Israelson

(416) 918-4611