Peshawar witnessed another gruesome killing on Monday. The murder of senior lawyer Latif Afridi under the writ of judicial hammer inside the premises of the court is pathetic. It is a serious security lapse, and many heads must roll. It also proved how daredevils are unscrupulous elements who feel free to execute their nefarious plans — and that too unmindful of heavy law-enforcement presence and under stringent security. The former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association was a notable soul, and had pushed the envelope of justice fearlessly. The shootout right inside his chamber by a lethal gunman is a blot on the face of our anti-terror strategy and goes on to establish that there are serious and severe loopholes, and the same are in need of being ploughed.
Afridi was always full of cases that had much to do with public welfare and the decorum of law. During his presidency days at the apex court bar, he made his outstanding presence felt by coming down hard on the judiciary itself, and campaigning for a culture where the courts and legal bureaucracy are free from politics. He advocated and pleaded many such cases that inadvertently rubbed shoulders with the powers-that-be. Thus, his exit in such a barbaric manner will surely go on to raise eyebrows, and must solicit attention of authorities at the helm of affairs. A suo motu notice is worth this killing, in an attempt to not only ensure speedy justice but also to flag out black sheep in the administration and law-enforcement circles who are callous and look the other way round.
This horrendous act of terror has exposed the already simmering province to new scars. The fact that the assassin has been arrested must pave the way for a complete mop operation, and to dig deep into the links of abettors. As is the custom, the case should not be hushed up by terming it as personal enmity or an act of a lunatic. First and foremost, breach of security must stand trial; and the legal fraternity should rally for a speedy retribution.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2023.
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