FIA prosecutor’s murder: Twin cities’ courts closed as lawyers protest

Early arrests, better security demanded; courts to remain closed on Saturday.


Fawad Ali/obaid Abbasi May 03, 2013
After the death of FIA prosecutor, the bar associations of Rawalpindi and Islamabad observed strikes and boycotted court proceedings. PHOTO: FILE/NASEEM JAMES

RAWALPINDI/ ISLAMABAD:


The legal fraternity of the twin cities observed a complete strike on Friday after the brutal killing of their colleague, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali.


Ali was currently working as the FIA’s prosecutor in the Benazir Bhutto murder case, and had also been the prosecutor in the Mumbai attack case since 2008. On Friday morning, Ali was going to appear at the Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) for a hearing in the Bhutto case, when two unidentified men attacked him with a submachine gun near his house in sector G-9/1.

After his death, the bar associations of Rawalpindi and Islamabad observed strikes and boycotted court proceedings. They condemned the brutal murder and demanded that the government arrest the culprits.

Ali had also served as FIA Legal assistant director.

The Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) and District Bar Association passed a joint resolution condemning the incident and demanding justice.

Islamabad District Bar Association President Dr Anwar Shah said that if Ali was receiving threats he must have been provided security, adding that lawyers will observe strike on Saturday (today) as well.

The Lahore High Court Bar Association’s (LHCBA) Rawalpindi wing and the Rawalpindi District Bar Association (RDBA) also passed a resolution against the incident.

LHCBA President Tauseef Asif condemned the incident and termed it a failure of the interim government.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Asif said lawyers are being targeted “as part of a conspiracy”. He condemned Ali’s murder and demanded of the government to arrest the killers as soon as possible. He said Ali should have been provided with proper security as he had been receiving threats, which he had informed the courts and the police about.

“Being honest is a curse here. He was punished for his honesty and straightforwardness,” he said adding that Ali was hoping to wrap up the Bhutto case in three months. “Providing no security to a prosecutor dealing with high profile cases like the Bhutto case, the Hajj corruption case and the Mumbai attack case is beyond comprehension,” he said.

District Bar Association Secretary Malik Zaheer Arshad urged the army chief to take notice of the incident and take personal interest in it to “find whether there is a third force which wanted to pit state institutions against each other by targeting lawyers”.

Former LHC bar president Sheikh Ahsanuddin said attacks on lawyers have increased since March 28, with “senior lawyers being beaten, kidnapped and killed”. He claimed that during the BB murder case, “Musharraf’s party leaders hired goons to beat up the lawyers,” he said. He condemned the murder of Chaudhry Zulfiqar and appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of the incident.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2013.

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