Here is a blog post written by a citizen of Barbados on the crisis in Pakistan.
LAHORE, Pakistan (CNN) — Baton-wielding police fought with lawyers outside courthouses in Islamabad and Lahore again Tuesday, arresting dozens more as they enforced Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s crackdown on judicial activism. With one in four lawyers now jailed and many judges detained in their homes, surrounded by soldiers, Pakistan’s judicial system is in lockdown three days after Musharraf suspended the constitution and declared a state of emergency.
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto left Karachi for Islamabad Tuesday for meetings with other opposition leaders about how to respond to Musharraf’s declaration. Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry — fired by Musharraf Saturday — in a phone call to a gathering of lawyers urged them to go to “every corner of Pakistan and give the message that this is the time to sacrifice.” Musharraf’s declaration noted a “visible ascendancy in the activities of extremists and incidents of terrorist attacks” and it blamed a judiciary that was “at cross purposes” with his government’s efforts “to control this menace.”
Source: CNN.com Asia
The political turmoil which is unfolding in Pakistan does not directly affect us in Barbados…or does it? Maybe we can draw one interesting parallel. We often take for granted the freedoms which we enjoy in Barbados. Maybe it explains why some people are willing to speak-out and to highlight the vulnerabilities which can appear in any democratic system of government from time to time. A read of the story quoted above immediately caused us to sympathize with our fellow world citizens who are literally giving their lives to ensure that freedoms which Barbadians currently enjoy they too can can live to experience. There is the perception that people who live in Asia are ‘bare-foot and ignorant’ and profiling does occur given the spin of our Western media when highlighting issues on the Asian continent.
We wish to assure our readers that this is far from the case.Some of the most intelligent people on the planet reside in Asia!
What has attracted our attention to the plight of the Pakistanis is the willingness of lawyers in that country to engage in ‘judicial activism’ now that President Musharraf has suspended the constitution of Pakistan. Although our system of government in Barbados is not threatened in the same way Pakistanis perceive theirs to be, we just wondered how fat and comfortable our professional groups in our society have become; including our lawyers, that they would be willing to put it all on the line ‘to fight and defend their honor’. Some people will of course suggest that we are not comparing apples with apples in the parallel we have chosen, but that is OK.
The purpose of this article is to provide a reality check for Barbadians and all those people who are fortunate to live in societies which have relatively free systems of government. Our freedoms have not occurred by accident and neither will they be sustained by accident.