Monday, November 05, 2007

...Kill All The Lawyers

That's Shakespeare's line, not mine and yet it's being taken to heart by Musharraf in Pakistan.

"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 5 — Police armed with tear gas and clubs attacked thousands of protesting lawyers in the city of Lahore today, and rounded up lawyers in other cities as the government of the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, faced the first signs of concerted resistance to the imposition of emergency rule.

An estimated 150 lawyers were arrested in Lahore after a pitched battle between police and lawyers who stood on the roof of the High Court throwing stones at the police below. Some of the lawyers had bleeding heads as they were shoved into police vans, and some fainted in the clouds of tear gas."

Pakistan is one of those conundrums. If Musharraf wasn't an ally of convenience in the war on terror, he would certainly be an enemy. Yet the possibility of a fundamentalist Islamic state in Pakistan is less palatable than a military dictatorship. This is one of those battles like the Communism vs. Fascism fight in Spain pre-WWII or the Iran/Irag war of the 80's where you really hope that no one wins and that both sides just beat each other to a pulp.

In that vein we're also stuck with choosing between the tyrant of the police state and the petty tyrants of the legal system. What does it say about lawyers that I'm having trouble picking sides?


Jivtesh Singh said...

Hey Mark,

You're spot on with the comparison! I'd prefer a pakistan under a military dictator than being a fundamentalist state anyday. I think the general public there agrees, thats why we havent seen a revolt. Pakistan having a lot of english speaking citizens - i think is pretty much influenced by American and English culture unlike the arab countries. They are pretty confused about whether or not they should support the fundamentalists. I think they lean towards supporting America. So i expect Mush to stay on.

Mark said...

Here in the US we like to highlight our foreign policy screw ups but often we're stuck choosing the lesser evil of two sides because we believe the consequences of not choosing could be worse.

Real life is messy. Fortunately, Pakistan seems a little less messy than it's neighbors and that's a good thing. Then again, many Russians complained that democracy was hard. I guess the quote about democracy being the worst form of government, except for all the others is probably right.