A 35-year-old lawyer, Mohammed Murtaza Chinoy, was shot dead by two men inside his Zamzama office Thursday morning in the latest in the series of attacks on the legal fraternity.
“The victim knew the murderers and it was only because of this that they were allowed inside the office,” said Saddar SP Tariq Dharejo. “The attackers sat inside the office for around 15 minutes during which time an argument took place that resulted in a scuffle.” He was shot at around 11:30 am.
Security guard Ashfaq Khan was roaming around the street outside a café when he heard the sound of gunfire. “There was just a single gunshot,” he recalled. He froze in the middle of the street. “It was only when I spoke with a couple of other guards in the area that we learnt that it came from a building nearby,” he said. However, none of them saw the attackers leaving the office.
Dharejo denied that Chinoy’s laptop had been taken away by the murderers. “Some documents are suspected to have been taken away.”
The single gunshot proved fatal for the lawyer and he was declared dead on arrival at Jinnah hospital. The police said that although every angle was being considered, they were leaning towards either a personal enmity or a disgruntled client.
Chinoy was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1999. He had previously read law at the University of Kent, Canterbury. When back in Pakistan he had worked at Orr, Dignam & Co., a corporate commercial law firm. Last year he had branched out on his own to form Mohammed M. Chinoy & Co. Advocates & Legal Consultants at the Zamzama suite. Right next door lives Iqbal Ansari, who was still shaking with fear from the incident. “We didn’t see anyone. They were probably dacoits,” he said.
The police have detained the building’s chowkidar but no FIR was lodged till the filing of this report.
A friend who had helped him set up office, Barrister Abdur Rahman, told The Express Tribune that the young lawyer mostly looked into civil cases and had nothing to do with criminal cases. Barrister Naim-Ur-Rahman, who also knew Chinoy, also said that he was a member of the Sindh High Court Bar Association and dealt mostly with corporate law cases at the sessions and high courts.
The unmarried Chinoy was a resident of Bath Island and the only son in the family. A married sibling lives abroad.
At least 10 lawyers have been killed so far this year in Sindh. Two lawyers affiliated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz were targeted in a drive-by shooting near the FTC building on Shahrae Faisal on July 27.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.