Indian Lawyers, Judges Demand Pakistani Lawyers, Judges Freed sign now

Since declaring emergency, under the pretext of a judiciary that was destabilizing the nation, General Musharraf has continued to target the justice system, arresting judges, lawyers, human rights activists and threatening journalists and students. Hundreds of lawyers, judges and human rights activists have been arrested.. Many of those arrested are missing families have no idea of their whereabouts. There is concern that many are being tortured and intimidated. Five activists - National Partys secretary-general Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, secretaries Ayub Qureshi and Yusuf Mustikhan and trade union leaders Fareed Awan and Liaquat Sahi have been detained and charged with sedition which carries a maximum of death sentence. All this, while, militant groups continue to roam freely.

One such detainee is Asma Jahangir, advocate at the Supreme Court of Pakistan, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, recipient of the 1999 Human Rights Award from Human Rights First, and United Nations Special Rapporteur. She has been placed under house arrest based on "credible information that [she] will deliver inflammatory speeches for instigating the general public." A detention order has also been issued for Hina Jilani, Jahangir's sister who serves as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Human Rights Defenders. Muneer Malik, a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law and the Immediate Past President of the Pakistani Supreme Court Bar Association, is known to be a conscientious, industrious lawyer dedicated to the welfare of his country, and not in the least a threat to law and order. There are fears that he is being tortured and intimidated at Attock Fort by military agents.

Some of these lawyers are in police custody; others have reportedly been turned over to the military's Inter Services Intelligence agency, which has a long history of employing torture on political opponents. The Supreme and High Court judges have been locked in their own homes. Police have stormed into bar association gatherings and have manhandled lawyers, some of them septuagenarian.

TV stations have been blacked out and police vans are carting off telecommunication equipment from private TV stations. Transmission equipment has been seized from several broadcast media. Government officials have tried to shut down presses owned by Jang to prevent publication of newsprint.

We advocates, lawyers and judges in India deplore the brazen attempt by General Musharraf to perpetuate his own rule by discarding the constitution. We call for President Musharraf to:
. immediately revoke Provisional Constitution Order # 1 of 2007;
. immediately release from detention and house arrest all those detained after the declaration of a "state of emergency" and release of those charged with treason;
. immediately reinstate the Supreme Court and Provincial High Courts;
. hold fair and free general elections monitored by international observers.

We urge the Government of India to use all its influence and in no uncertain terms demand the restoration of the Supreme Court status quo ante November 2, 2007. We ask that United Nations demand the immediate release of and accounting for all persons who have been jailed after the promulgation of the so-called emergency.

In Support of People of Pakistan

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Deanne WatsonBy:
Petition target:
UN, Govt. of India, Gen. Musharraf


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