We all like to remind ourselves about the courage of the Founding Fathers of our country, who risked their lives and property in establishing the United States. Where is that courage today? Not in the many bar associations around the country. They are afraid to do anything to ruffle anyone’s feathers. They are notorious for passing around honors from one firm to the next, trading the limelight, and generally patting one another on the back.
Contrast that with what is taking place today in Pakistan. Today, General Musharraf has suspended the Constitution in Pakistan, a step toward imposing martial law. Who is willing to speak out against this, to stand up for their Constitution? The lawyers of Islamabad, Lahore and other cities and towns.
These brave professionals defied the military by demonstrating in the streets, crying out their condemnation at the General’s illegal acts and even throwing rocks at the police. They were predictably beaten with batons about the head, threatened with bullets, and dragged away to the jails. With their voices alone, they defy the weaponry of the police and military. And the Musharraf government is arresting lawyers all across Pakistan regardless of their demonstrations – but only because of their anticipated opposition to the actions of Musharraf.
Such unarmed heroism is in the greatest tradition of Mahatma Ghandi who, after practicing in South Africa, employed his passive resistance next door in India, to obtain India’s independence from the British. Martin Luther King, Jr. was his pupil.
Besides suspending the Constitution, General Musharraf fired all members of the Supreme Court and judges in the four provincial High Courts. He is keeping many of them under house arrest. Now he is now trying to replace those judges by swearing in new replacement judges loyal to his government.
The patriotic lawyers, besides taking to the streets, have a strategy to undermine the courts of the Musharraf government. The lawyers intend to subvert the courts now run by Musharraf stooges by paralyzing the business of the new courts. They will try to get all lawyers to refuse to do business in the courts, to deny acceptance of the new judges. Pushing still further, the lawyers are leading the resistance, even ahead of the political parties, who have yet to act or even declare their intentions. The lawyers of Pakistan are not only the practitioners of, but the guardians of, democracy.
No where is there a better example of lawyers fighting for the rights of their clients– to ensure a process of fair treatment in the court system. While people accused of a crime in Oklahoma can’t hire one of these brave Pakistani lawyers, they should look for a lawyer who has those qualities — knowledge, experience and determination to fight courageously for your rights. This is a good reminder that, whether in Pakistan or in Oklahoma, those are important and essential factors in defending the rights of the accused.
I believe it’s important for those facing criminal charges in Oklahoma to be educated on their options so I invite you to visit my web site at http://www.netlegalhelp.com where I help you determine how to find the right lawyer for your case.