KARACHI: A senior lawyer, who was also the brother of Lahore High Court's Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, was gunned down near Bagh Halar on Saturday, prompting lawyers across the city to protest.
Police quoted family as saying that Sardar Mohammad Zulfiqar, who was a member of the Karachi Bar Council and worked on the criminal cases, was killed on his way to work. He was ambushed by men on a motorcycle as he left in his car, said the police. The number of attackers is not yet clear. He was shot multiple times and died on the way to hospital.
He was a resident of Noorani Arcade and is survived by three children. He was settled in Rawalpindi where another brother Sardar Isaaq Khan worked as a lawyer as well. The rest of the day was spent making arrangements to send the body to Rawalpindi with his wife and children. The family hails from Rawalakot, Kashmir.
According to the police, the bullet that hit his upper torso proved fatal. Police registered FIR No 277/10 against unidentified men on his brother-in-law Kashif Ahmed's complaint. The police said they could not yet confirm whether it was a "target" killing or if the murder had something to do with a personal enmity.
Soon after the murder, members of the Karachi Bar Council rushed to the hospital and work came to a standstill. Emotionally charged lawyers shouted slogans against the government for not providing lawyers and courts security.
Alamzaib Khattak, a lawyer, told The Express Tribune that the government had completely failed them. "I do not know whether it's a matter of a target killing or not but one thing is for sure, lawyers are not secure in the city," he said. "In such a situation how can we perform our duties properly?"
SP Javed Akber said that it would be premature to say it was a "target killing". The police have yet ascertain whether Zulfiqar was affiliated with any political party.
"We condemn his killing," said Naeem Qureshi, the general secretary of the Karachi Bar Association. "He played an important role in the lawyers' movement. It was a targeted killing. However, we are waiting for the reports and only then will we be able to say who killed him and why." After returning from Civil hospital the lawyers decided to announce that they would boycott court proceedings. The Karachi Bar Association and Malir Bar Association backed them. The Malir Bar Association declared the murder a 'target killing'. An estimated 600 prisoners facing trial were not brought from Central Prison Karachi, District Prison Malir, Women's Prison and the Youth Offenders Prison. Work also suffered at the Malir District Courts, banking courts, national accountability courts, anti-terrorism courts and custom courts.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2010.
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