Monday, November 12, 2012

Lawless Pakistani Lawyers

Five years ago black suited lawyers in Pakistan marched the streets to protest the unconstitutional actions of General dictator General Pervez Musharraf.   

Who knew?  That wasn't going to be the last to be heard of them, the  Lawyers' Movement .

Should come as no shock.  Beyond the headlines and immediate goals,  who outside the region really cared what they do?  My only interest is of curiosity, and what seems to be a lesson in human fault.

What seemed to be a noble group of men, we find out to be not much better than the Dictator they sought to overthrow.

Pakistani lawyers go from heroes to ‘gangsters’

LAHORE, Pakistan — The young police inspector came to court to present evidence in a beating case. He left with his head and lip bloodied and his uniform torn — assaulted, he said, by a gang of black-suited assailants.

The notorious lawyers of Lahore had struck again, police and witnesses said. It was chalked up as yet another episode of violence by lawyers that has become common here in this seat of justice in eastern Pakistan, where cases from throughout Punjab province are heard.

In a nation where the rule of law is already fragile on many levels, police officials, judges, litigants and witnesses say they have become increasingly fearful of marauding lawyers in their trademark black pants, coats and ties.

I am not going to copy the whole article, as interesting as it is, but rather paste some snippets.

“If police officers don’t submit to their pressure, they abuse and beat them,” said Sadaqat Ullah, the 28-year-old police investigator who alleged that a group of lawyers pummeled him

“Storm troopers,” Ayaz Amir, a politician and commentator, called them in a June column. “Time was when lawyers did most of their arguing with their tongues. Now they seem to do a better job with their fists.”

Judges, in particular, say lawyers have become drunk on power, unafraid to curse judicial officers, drag them from their courtrooms and padlock the doors

Courthouse violence appears infrequent elsewhere, but in Lahore, on a single day in May, three courtroom brawls were reported in the media. They included the pummeling of police inspector Zohaib Awan
In courtrooms, lawyers crowd insistently in front of the bench as opposed to sitting quietly at their places until the judge instructs them to appear.

Throughout Pakistan, neither the police, nor the lawyers, nor the courts — particularly the lower courts — are held in high regard. Police officers are poorly paid and augment their income by demanding payoffs to investigate crimes.