Friday, December 14, 2007

Teleconference with Bar Association of San Francisco

Last night (6 pm to 7:40 pm, Pacific Standard Time), the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) hosted a teleconferece with lawyers in Pakistan to discuss the suspension of Pakistan's Constitution and the arrest of Supreme Court and High Court Judges, lawyers and activists. The event was recorded so that you can listen, first-hand, to the reports from lawyers who were arrested. There is link to the audio recording below that you can click on to listen to the teleconference.

For lawyers, and those who believe that democracy is based on an independent judiciary that enforces the rule of law, it will be shocking to hear about Supreme Court and High court judges still under house arrest. This is a teleconference well worth your time to listen to.

On November 3, 2007, the Constitution of Pakistan was unilaterally suspended by the President, General Musharaff. By evening the majority of the Supreme Court Judges and other Judges were under house arrest. All Pakistani and international news channels were forced off the air. In order to curb criticism of the suspension of the Constitution, the government cracked down hardest on the lawyers. More than 5,700 lawyers, judges, activists and journals were imprisoned for voicing their opposition and demonstrating peaceably.

The real reason for suspending the Constitution and purging the judiciary was that Pakistani law did not allow General Musharaff to continue in power. His election for another five-year term was under challenge in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was expected to announce its ruling on November 8, but Musharaff's actions effectively dismantled the judiciary.
On December 12, 2007, The Bar Association of San Francisco held a teleconference with prominent Pakistani Lawyers, all of whom were previously arrested and incarcerated without bail. They are:

a. Zahid F. Ebrahim, Supreme Court of Pakistan Advocate, Partner of Ebrahim Hosain
b. Khwaja Ahmed Hosain, Barrister at Law, Partner of Ebrahim Hosain
c. Salahuddin Ahmed, Barrister at Law, Partner of Malik, Chaudhry, Ahmed and Siddiqi

The teleconference was moderated by Nanci Clarence, of Clarence & Dyer LLP and 2007 BASF President, Naomi Rustomjee, of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP, and Kurshid Khoja, of Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP. The Pakistani Lawyers commented not only on the situation in Pakistan, but also on the implications for the safety and security of the United States.

To listen to the teleconference, click on the link below.

Note: Recording playback requires Flash. If you do not have Flash installed, you will be prompted to install it before playback begins.

For additional instructions on playback, click here:

Note: This live recording was made by:
David Bennett Major, Lindsey & Africa
Managing Director
500 Washington Street, Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

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