Lawyers protest killings: Court hearings to resume after Eid

The lawyers will not represent anyone charged with target killing, says SBC.

Express August 26, 2011

KARACHI/HYDERABAD: The longest boycott of court proceedings was endorsed by the representatives of bar associations on Friday to protest against the killing of lawyers.

The protest was called after the murder of Barrister Mohammed Murtaza Chinoy on Thursday morning inside his office.

The meeting was held at the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) and was attended by representatives of the Sindh Bar Council (SBC), Karachi Bar Association (KBA), and Malir Bar Association.

Earlier, hearings of hundreds of cases at the high court were delayed because of a protest by the lawyers of the KBA on Friday. The KBA also held an emergency meeting, in which it was decided that the lawyers would return to work on Saturday to prevent problems to litigants just ahead of the Eid celebrations, according to Syed Haider Imam Rizvi, the honorary secretary of the KBA.

Iftikhar Javed Kazi of the SBC deplored the death of 12th lawyer in eight months. He proposed that the lawyers will not represent anyone arrested by the police for target killing. Every lawyer feels unsafe today, even in the security of their offices, he said.

The acting president of the SHCBA, Abdul Jabbar Qureshi, condemned the attack on Chinoy. He said that the government and its agencies have failed again to protect peaceful citizens. He believed that the killing of Chinoy inside his office shows the determination of the killers to target lawyers in Karachi.

Secretary Rizvi called for a judicial probe into the murder under the supervision of a high court judge. He also suggested a nationwide dialogue among the lawyers and offered to host a national convention to discuss ways and means to protect the lives of his fraternity members.

The bar associations also demanded that the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the chief justices of the provincial high courts should also take notice of the killings of lawyers.

In Hyderabad, the offices of the Hyderabad District Bar Association (HDBA) and the SBC hoisted black flags, and the lawyers wore black armbands to protest Chinoy’s killing.

The lawyers boycotted the court proceedings on Friday as well. At a condolence meeting, the district bar association of Hyderabad condemned the murders and frequent targeted killings of lawyers in Sindh. Nisar Durrani, the president of the HDBA, presided over the meeting.

They lawyers regretted that there has been no decline in the number of murders and the attackers remain at large despite protests by the legal fraternity.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th,  2011.