Lawyers’ killings: High court summons top cop and leaders of the Bar

Published: January 26, 2012
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Lawyers gathered at the hospital to mourn their loss. At least seven lawyers have been killed this year while 16 lawyers were killed in the city last year. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD AZEEM/EXPRESS

Lawyers gathered at the hospital to mourn their loss. At least seven lawyers have been killed this year while 16 lawyers were killed in the city last year. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD AZEEM/EXPRESS

PHOTO: PPI Lawyers gathered at the hospital to mourn their loss. At least seven lawyers have been killed this year while 16 lawyers were killed in the city last year. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD AZEEM/EXPRESS
KARACHI: 

The Chief Justice of Sindh High Court, Justice Musheer Alam, taking suo motu notice on the killing of lawyers has summoned Sindh police chief and other officials on Thursday, asking them to submit a report on the incidents of targeted killings of the members of the Bar.

The representatives of the SHC and Karachi bar associations were also put on notice after three lawyers were gunned down in Karachi on Wednesday.

Badar Munir Jaffery, his son Kafeel Jaffery and nephew Shakeel Jaffery were killed when unidentified men on motorcycles intercepted their car near Pakistan Chowk and sprayed it with bullets. The fourth occupant of the car Babar Ali has been admitted to Civil hospital.

The home minister has suspended the Aram Bagh SHO and has tasked the police with submitting a report within 48 hours. A high-powered inquiry committee was also constituted under the supervision of DIG South Commandant Shaukat Ali Shah to investigate the killings. Other members of the committee are SSP South Naeem Sheikh, Saddar SP Tariq Dharejo, Crime Range SP Niaz Ahmed Khosa and chief of the Special Investigation Unit, SSP Shahjahan Khan.

The police investigators have started recording the statements of the witnesses and are trying to put together sketches of the culprits with the help of witnesses. They are also trying to secure CCTV camera footage from around the crime scene.

According to some witnesses, a police constable was also present at the spot but he did not act. “A policeman was standing nearby, but he instead of targeting the culprits, resorted to aerial firing,” said a witness.

Investigating officers also suspect that the killing of the three lawyers could be a reaction of the targeted killing of an Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat legal adviser who was gunned down on Tuesday and the killing of senior lawyer Maqboolur Rahman who was fatally attacked on January 17. Another inquiry committee member SSP Khosa believes Wednesday’s killings are a reaction to the recent sectarian murders.

Meanwhile, the office bearers and representatives of bar organisations have expressed their concern over the failure of the government and administrative machinery to stop these kind of attacks against members of the legal fraternity.

Muhammad Yasin Azad, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, while calling for a country-wide protest strike on Thursday, demanded the government arrest the killers within 24 hours.

Iftikhar Javed Qazi, the vice chairman of the Sindh Bar Council, regretted that “particular segments of society were being targeted. First, the doctors were attacked and killed, followed by teachers and ulema and now lawyers are being targeted to terrorise the common man.”

Khalid Mumtaz, the secretary of the Karachi Bar Association, said that “the anguish and anger of lawyers could well be imagined as Kafeel was a lively person and active in bar politics.”

Some other leaders of the bar warned that people should forget about being defended in courts if targeted killings continue. “Really, this is the kind of situation in which people won’t find lawyers,” said Haider Imam Rizvi, the general secretary of the KBA. Lawyers are only doing their job of seeking justice for their clients. “We don’t consider political or sectarian affiliations when someone wants to hire us. Why can’t people understand this?”

At least seven lawyers have been killed in January 2012 alone under similar circumstances where gunmen intercepted them near courts or their offices, pumped bullets from 9mm pistols and made their escape good. Rizvi said that 16 lawyers were killed last year in Karachi. “I don’t know any other city in the world where so many lawyers have been killed in a matter of few months.”

The angry lawyers talked about the Supreme Court’s order in suo motu proceeding on Karachi’s law and order. The SC had specifically asked the authorities to submit reports on a regular basis to a commission, which has not been formed yet.

The Karachi Bar Association also became a party to the suo motu proceedings and pleaded its case, seeking concrete action besides appropriate compensation to the legal heirs of the lawyers.

“We have to make sure that Supreme Court’s orders are implemented in letter and spirit,” said Nadeem Qureshi, an advocate of the superior judiciary. He wondered why lawyers appearing in similar cases in Lahore or Islamabad were not targeted.

Another advocate of the Supreme Court, Shaukat Ali Shaikh, said in most cases lawyers have no agenda of their own when appearing on behalf of an accused associated with a sectarian or a political outfit.

Chief Justice Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry expressed his concern over the unabated violence during a visit to the city last week. He had already directed SHC CJ Musheer Alam to summon the police chief, Rangers DG and home secretary on Saturday (January 28) to review law and order situation in Karachi, investigations into murder cases of lawyers and measures taken to protect the community.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 26, 2012 - 2:11AM

    The killers must be apprehend by all means.

    It is a sorry state of affairs which are going on in Pakistan.

    Shame on the law enforcing agencies who run away from the crime scene instead of arresting the culprits.

    Recommend

  • Mawali
    Jan 26, 2012 - 4:27AM

    It’s the usual Sunni militancy that has not only destroyed Islam but has made a mockery of this forsaken nation.

    Recommend

  • Afaaq
    Jan 26, 2012 - 4:34AM

    Sad and unfortunate …

    Recommend

  • Syed Shan Abidi
    Jan 26, 2012 - 5:14AM

    This is not acceptable to us no matter what religion or faith they follow. We object strongly for such an inhuman act. I fail to understand that why our Police and Law enforcement forces are failed to tackle these followers of yazeed (Lanati). May Allah (SWT) give them hidayat and destroy them completely inshallah.

    Recommend

  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Jan 26, 2012 - 7:49AM

    There is near totoal breakdown in the country. I fear serious civil strife………….

    Recommend

  • Taji
    Jan 26, 2012 - 9:23AM

    It is very unfortunate that Muslims are not safe in this so called Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In particular, the minority shias have been the target of the extremist organizations, which are funded from the rich states in the Middle East. These states have turned Pakistan into hell for not only shias but also for sunnis. It is high time for our leaders to stop fighting over silly issues, and take on these terrorists.Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Jan 26, 2012 - 1:59PM

    Very sad and unfortunate, indeed..

    Recommend

  • Imran Sheikh
    Jan 26, 2012 - 4:28PM

    Very sad news..

    Recommend

  • Chanakya
    Jan 26, 2012 - 9:29PM

    Karach Police should make fake arrests, provide fool proof security to those arrested and after couple of months release them on bail in wilderness !Recommend

  • K. Salim Jahangir
    Jan 26, 2012 - 10:51PM

    Strange, hundreds of innocent people have been killed in Karachi over the years & our intelligence agencies have not been able to reach the source??

    Recommend

  • Ali Wali
    Jan 27, 2012 - 1:13AM

    Shia should be allowed to bear arms, as state has failed to provide them security.Recommend

  • Jan 27, 2012 - 2:09AM

    It is the conspiracy of sectarian violence in the city.

    Recommend

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