A senior lawyer and his son were gunned down here on Saturday, bringing all judicial work in the city to a grinding halt. Advocate Salahuddin, ex-president of the Malir Bar Association (MBA), and his son Ali Raza were killed by unidentified assailants as they made their way to the Malir district bar.
According to police and eyewitnesses, the victims were intercepted by gunmen on a motorcycle while they were riding a rickshaw on their routine journey. The gunmen opened fire at close range, killing both men on the spot.
Their bodies were shifted to the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for autopsy. The JPMC Medico Legal Officer (MLO) stated Salahuddin was shot four times while his son was shot twice.
Lawyers at the Malir district bar and the City Courts complex boycotted all court proceedings upon receiving the tragic news. An emergency meeting of lawyers was held at 1 pm at the City Courts complex, presided by the Karachi Bar Association (KBA) President Mehmoodul Hasan, where the enraged lawyers were urged to calm down. Senior lawyers stressed that any agitation would hamper investigations providing the killers ample time to evade justice.
KBA honorary secretary Khalid Mumtaz was extremely critical of the government for its apathy and the police for its inability to protect senior lawyers who he said were being targeted regularly. Naeem Qureshi, a Sindh Bar Council (SBC) member, reinforced the stance by adding that eight lawyers had been killed just three months into the current year. He alleged that this was part of a planned attempt targeting lawyers.
Taking notice of the killings, Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Musheer Alam ordered a judicial probe into the incident. Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan also took notice of the incident and directed the Sindh inspector general to personally supervise the investigations and file a report to him in 24 hours.
Initial police investigations recovered six small calibre casings from the crime scene which have been forwarded to the forensic laboratory. DSP Rao Iqbal told The Express Tribune that the motives behind the killings might be of a sectarian nature.
He added, however, that any concrete motive would only be uncovered once the investigations were completed.
The killings drew countrywide condemnation and a provincewide protest has been called for Monday. SBC has called for a boycott of court work on the day, while strikes will continue at the City Courts Complex and the Malir District Court.
(With additional reporting by Faraz Khan)
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2012.
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