PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE/ KARACHI: Lawyers across the country will boycott court proceedings for three days to protest the gun and bomb attack on members of their fraternity in Quetta.
Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), an apex body of lawyers, announced in a statement that it will hold a three-day countrywide strike in addition to observing a week of mourning over Monday’s savage attack.
A similar announcement of a three-day strike and seven days of mourning was made by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).
Deadly blast: Government, opposition condemn Quetta blast
A Taliban suicide bomber struck a crowd of around 200 people who had gathered at the Civil Hospital in Quetta after the fatal shooting of Balochistan Bar Association President Bilal Anwar Kasi earlier in the day. The blast killed at least 70 people and injured over 100 others.
This is the first time that a strike has been called by the SCBA in the Supreme Court. SCBA president Ali Zafar explained that the strike was necessary as Monday’s attack was an attack on the country’s justice system.
Both Zafar and PBC vice chairman Dr Farogh Naseem urged the chief justice not to hold proceedings of the apex court for three days.
Condemning the attack, Dr Naseem in his statement said the federal and provincial governments had failed to protect citizens, particularly lawyers. The PBC went on to urge the federal government and the provincial government of Balochistan to provide relief to the victims in stages.
In the first stage, pay compensation of Rs2 million to families of the dead lawyers and Rs1 million to each injured lawyer.
In the second stage, Rs5 million should be paid to the family of each lawyer killed in the attack, and Rs2.5 million to each injured lawyer.
Similarly, the SCBA president demanded that the interior minister and IGs of all provinces hold a meeting with the legal community to discuss a strategy for enhancing security at all courts in the country.
CJP condemns attack
CJP Anwar Zaheer Jamali has strongly condemned Kasi’s assassination and the subsequent bomb attack on the Civil Hospital.
Stressing that effective measures should be taken to improve the law and order situation in Balochistan and the rest of the country, CJP Jamali voiced hope that the federal and provincial governments would leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Lawyers protests across the country
Following the attack, lawyers across the country boycotted courts in response to the call of bar associations.
Quetta weeps again
In Sindh, a large number of cases fixed for the day were adjourned, as lawyers did not show up in the courts to plead them.
In Peshawar, members of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council (KPBC) and Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA) announced a two-day strike to protest the Quetta carnage. Lawyers also announced two days of mourning. Some lawyers also staged a protest in Takht Bhai and Mardan city.
In Lahore, judges of the Lahore High Court condemned the Quetta blast and expressed solidarity with the bereaved families. Separately, the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) representatives threatened to lock down district courts unless adequate security arrangements are put in place within a week as the LBA announced a week of mourning in addition to plans for observing a strike today (August 9).
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2016.
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