The Lawyers’ Crusade

From The New York Times:

Aitzaz In April, on the highway outside the little Punjabi town of Renala Khurd, Aitzaz Ahsan was waylaid by a crowd of seemingly deranged lawyers. The advocates, who wore black suits, white shirts and black ties, were not actually insane; they just seemed that way because they were so overcome with excitement at greeting the mastermind of Pakistan’s lawyers’ movement, perhaps the most consequential outpouring of liberal, democratic energy in the Islamic world in recent years. The 62-year-old Ahsan was on his way to address the bar association of Okara, 10 miles away, but the lawyers, and the farmers and shopkeepers gathered with them, were not about to let him leave. They boiled around the car, shouting slogans. “Who should our leaders be like?” they cried. “Like Aitzaz!” And, “How many are prepared to die for you?” “Countless! Countless!”

Pakistan’s lawyers were not, in fact, courting martyrdom, but their willingness to stand up for their convictions, and to suffer for them, has transformed their country’s legal and political landscape.

More here.