A Message on Pakistan from ABA President William H. Neukom

Nov. 5, 2007 

Dear Fellow Lawyers:

Events in Pakistan have deeply disturbed members of the legal profession, and indeed all who care about the rule of law in our world. The American Bar Association shares these concerns, and I am writing to update you on what is being done.

Today, the ABA issued a statement, enclosed at the end of this letter. I also have written a letter of protest to President Musharraf, urging him to free all arrested lawyers and reinstate Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Copies of this letter are being sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other State Department officials.

We have received many inquiries from state and local bars, expressing a deep and universal sense of concern. We all realize that the actions in Pakistan are a threat to the rule of law, and especially to an independent bar and judiciary, everywhere.

In the short term, we urge you to speak out as forcefully as you can, by contacting your local media, your congressional representatives, and the federal government to express your concerns.

The ABA is studying additional ways to respond effectively as an organized bar, and we will advise you as other strategies and tools for your use are developed. In the meantime, I welcome you to send any suggestions to abapresident@abanet.org, so that we can factor your ideas into our discussions.

An independent bar and judiciary are a cornerstone of all lawful societies. It is essential, at a time when lawyers and the rule of law are under attack in Pakistan, that we work together to respond in a forceful and effective manner.

Sincerely,

William H. Neukom
President, American Bar Association

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