When the nation's lawyers turned out in protest, I was astonished. Imagine a bunch of suits taking to the streets in defense of some piece of paper, a principle, an ideal. Better yet, they were joined by thousands of regular citizens who shared their belief in the Rule of Law. Refusing to accept a unitary presidency, they faced down threats from law enforcement, even the military, in defense of their Constitution.
Where was this amazing event? In the United States? Yeah, in your dreams. No, it took place in that bastion of liberty and justice -- Pakistan. On March 9, President Musharraf suspended the nation's Chief Justice for 'illegal' activities like allegedly using influence to help his son become a cop. Yesterday, the High Court unanimously reversed this blatant attempt to shut down Justice Chaudhry's corruption investigations and suppress any legal challenge to the General's questionable plans to extend his presidency. An independent judiciary trumped a monarchical executive.
Months of protests have created a very real challenge to Musharraf's hold on the country. The Pakistani people, led by irate attorneys, took to the streets to protect their fragile democracy. Some citizens lost their lives. Maybe when liberties are scarce, they are worth defending. Our Founding Fathers believed this. Apparently, the Pakistani people do as well. The only question for Americans today -- do we?