Law students protest Pakistan

“The sidewalks outside the federal courthouse on S. Main Street were filled Friday with protesters joining in a peaceful show of support for the rule of law in Pakistan. The protest was organized after Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf decreed the country in a state of emergency from terrorist attacks.”

The sidewalks outside the federal courthouse on S. Main Street were filled Friday with protesters joining in a peaceful show of support for the rule of law in Pakistan.

The protest was organized after Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf decreed the country in a state of emergency from terrorist attacks. Musharraf then dismissed the country’s supreme court, suspended its constitution and began wearing a military uniform.

A group of protesters dressed in black assembled outside the federal courthouse to demonstrate their solidarity with the lawyers and judges in Pakistan.

Law professor Marge Koosed said the idea for the protest, which she ultimately organized, came from one of the alumni. Koosed said she did it because it was an effort to maintain democratic freedom.

UA law professor Bill Jordan said the protests were to show support for the rule of law.

The rule of law is the central element to achieve democracy and basic human rights.

He also said Americans can be involved with international affairs, but they must recognize their limitations.

We don’t have a right to get involved in this situation by means of force, he said. However, we do have a right to express our views.

Jordan said while the protesters were scarce in quantity, support from drivers boosted awareness for the cuse.

There weren’t many of us at the protest, maybe 20 to 25, but there were lots of people honking and waving signs.

Koosed said she attempted to inform anyone who wanted to know more about the Pakistani situation.

We have sent materials around so lawyers and non-lawyers, students and faculty were in a position to learn more about it, Koosed said.

First year law student Timothy Gallagher said, I feel law and the legal system provide society with structure, guidance and protection.

Without law, there would be no basis for protection from anyone or anything, he said. As a citizen of the world, I depend on the existence of law to ensure justice and fairness for everyone.

Lawyers in Pakistan who protest Musharraf’s decree have been met with aggression and violence from police. The Pakistani government thus far has arrested approximately 2,000 political opponents, lawyers and human rights activists.

By standing in front of the federal courthouse with signs and handouts, I was trying to demonstrate that their valiant efforts were not in vain, Gallagher said.

Jordan agreed and said the direction Pakistan is now headed is far from where it was.

The situation is tragic because during the last few years the country looked like it was on the verge for real growth, but it recently took major steps back, he said.

Jordan fears order will be lost in Pakistan without the rule of law. He believes that radicals will take over Pakistan, igniting a blaze of terrorism.

Restore the rule of law and restore order. Without it we could be in grave danger, he said. Pakistan has nuclear weapons, and they could potentially be a grave threat to themselves and Americans.