Friday, March 16, 2007

Rotten at the Top

The Glasshouse explains why the Chief Justice of Pakistan is in trouble. You should read the whole piece, but this stands out:

"Previously relatives of the missing people would file writs of habeas corpus in the courts. The judges would then formally request the Interior Ministry for information. Characteristically, the ministry would reply that the secret agencies had no clue as to the person's whereabouts, and the matter would end there.

The Chief Justice changed all this by diligently following up these cases and compelling the authorities to trace the missing citizens. As a result, many missing people suddenly reappeared in the strangest of circumstances; many of them accusing the secret agencies of incarcerating and torturing them. The CJ then put the cat among the pigeons by ordering these agencies to appear in court in front of him."


So Pakistan's rulers (its military and security agencies) are intent of getting rid of the Chief Justice. And their actions, like nothing else in the last decade, have enraged and energized what remains of civil society in Pakistan.


But contrary to any belief you may have formed so far, this post is not about Pakistan.

Reaction from Australia

"Thu Mar 15, 4:42 AM ET

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia on Thursday threw its support behind Pakistan's beleaguered President Pervez Musharraf, calling him an important figure in the global fight against terrorism.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said he hoped Musharraf could "hold on" in the face of an outbreak of protests over the suspension of the country's top judge."


If the leaders of the West had any belief in democracy, civil society, liberty or any of that stuff they keep prating about, they'd all unanimously be calling for Musharraf to step down.

Or at worst, maintaining a discreet silence.

It must be dismaying to them to see a magistrate who honors habeas corpus!