Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

January 03, 2008 14:34 ET

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

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 3, 2008) - 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.

Contact 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