Law Society condemns assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, expresses concerns about further violations of the rule of law



    TORONTO, Jan. 3 /CNW/ - The Law Society of Upper Canada joins the
worldwide legal community in its support for an international, neutral
investigation into the assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir
Bhutto. It is also calling on lawyers to continue to support members of the
legal profession and the judiciary in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in
their efforts to restore the independence of the judiciary and the rule of
law.
    The Law Society of Upper Canada condemns the assassination of the former
Pakistan prime minister and the deaths of others who perished in the attack on
her life on December 27, 2007. Bhutto's assassination follows months of unrest
and violations of human rights in Pakistan and has led to intensifying
violence and deeper political turmoil.
    "We were shocked and saddened by the news of Benazir Bhutto's
assassination," said Law Society Treasurer Gavin MacKenzie. "The Law Society
is greatly concerned that the assassination and killings are symptomatic of a
continuing erosion of democracy and human rights in Pakistan. Reports of
intensified mistreatment of judges and lawyers in Pakistan suggest that the
rule of law is now even further from being restored," he said.
    In November 2007, the Law Society condemned the imposition of the
Proclamation of Emergency; the suspension of the Constitution of the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan; the dismissal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad
Chaudhry and over 40 other judges; the abrogation of the rule of law; and the
reported detention of at least 3,500 lawyers and civil rights activists.
    The Law Society held a gathering on November 29, 2007 with the Ontario
Bar Association, to call for the restoration of the rule of law in Pakistan.
More than 400 judges, lawyers and friends were in attendance.
    The Law Society governs legal service providers in the public interest by
ensuring that the people of Ontario are served by lawyers and paralegals who
meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct and by
upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal professions for
the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.




For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Helen Stone, Manager of
Communications, (416) 947-7625; For further information about the Law
Society's Access to Justice and Equity initiatives, please visit our website
at www.lsuc.on.ca or call Josée Bouchard, Equity Advisor, (416) 947-3984


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