15 March 2007

Lawyers of the world, unite!

General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, is facing a serious revolt. What, one wonders, has happened. Have the peasants risen up? Are the workers barricading the streets? Well ... no. Actually, the lawyers are running amok.

Last Friday, Musharraf called the country's chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, into his office at army headquarters and asked for his resignation. The judge, who has frequently confronted the government and generally been a thorn in the general's side, refused. Musharraf continues to seek the judge's resignation and the judge continues to refuse. The case is now going, where else, to court. Meanwhile, the legal community has rallied behind Justice
Chaudhry, with lawyers demonstrating in the streets, burning Musharraf in effigy, and battling police.

The judge, who has staunchly supported those persecuted by the regime,
has become a national hero. "He took a lot of strong decisions to free victims of this government. He is very good," commented a local barber. The revolt probably won't get far -- it's hard to defeat a half-million strong military armed only with brief cases -- but it is spreading as other groups opposed to the dictator call their supporters into the streets.

Lawyers leading the revolution. Who would have thought?

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