Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Political Science

Committee Chair

John Kilwein

Committee Member

Jeff Worsham

Committee Member

Shauna Fisher

Committee Member

Robert Duval


This study focuses on a social movement, the Lawyers’ Moment 2007-2009 of Pakistan, a transitioning democracy, which brought vast changes in its judicial system, especially in terms of its judicial independence. There are three main research questions in this study: 1) the status of judicial independence before the Lawyers’ Movement; 2) was judicial independence a major goal in the Lawyers’ Movement? and 3) did the Lawyers’ Movement alter the status of judicial independence? The research methodology used to explore the answers to these questions also has three main sources: 1) the literature which explains some areas of scholarship in social movements and their impacts, including, cause-lawyering, political development, and the judicialization of politics; 2) opinions and observations of 30 elites directly connected with the Lawyers’ Movement including lawyers, jurisprudents, retired judges of superior courts, academicians, parliamentarians, politicians, media persons, and the representatives of civil society; and 3) a survey completed by these 30 elites indicating the status of judicial independence before and after the Lawyers’ Movement. The research findings in this study clearly show an overall political development in the country along with a significant change/improvement in the judicial system, in particular, the independence of judiciary after the historic Lawyers’ Movement in Pakistan.