Protesting against Quetta blasts: Lawyers observe ‘black day’ across country

ISLAMABAD / KARACHI: 

Responding to the call of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), lawyers across the country observed a strike on Monday to condemn the killing of more than 100 people in Quetta, mainly from the Hazara community.

The legal fraternity in Islamabad, Karachi, Khyber-Pakhthunkhwa, Punjab, and most of Sindh boycotted proceedings in high courts, city courts and district courts.

In Karachi, members of the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) adopted a unanimous resolution stating, “All the deceased people were innocent and the massacre of these innocent people has brought out religious intolerance prevailing in the country.” They were also protesting last week’s blast in Swat, and the killing of 14 security personnel in North Waziristan.

Regarding the Quetta blasts, they criticised the federal and the Balochistan governments for not taking action to fulfil what they said were the just and legal demands of the Hazara community. The resolution also stated that “The meeting feels that the action of imposing governor rule in Balochistan falls short of the demand of the people of Pakistan.”

The lawyers were of the view that the deployment of the Frontier Corps in Quetta would not resolve any issues, since the paramilitary force is already present in the province.

In Sukkur, the district bar association slammed former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani’s statement about the Quetta massacre, and demanded of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary to take suo motu notice of human rights violations in Balochistan.

A sit-in which was taking place at the railways tracks in Rohri and other areas was also called off after governor’s rule was imposed in Balochistan last night – many trains which had been stranded at different railway stations for over 24 hours finally left for their respective destinations.

In Islamabad, lawyers belonging to the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) and Islamabad District Bar Association (IDBA) also observed a ‘black day’ against the killings of members of the Shia Hazara community, and termed the deaths a failure of the government to protect people’s lives.

The lawyers also passed a resolution in which they demanded of the government to establish an interim caretaker setup in Balochistan.

IHCBA President Syed Nayab Hassan Gardazi said that it was unfortunate that hundreds of Shias were killed in Quetta while the provincial leadership of Balochistan was outside the country.

In Lahore, lawyers demanded the registration of a murder case against Raisani. The legal community did not attend court proceedings at the Lahore High Court and district courts, although the courts did hear some urgent cases.

The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) also approved a resolution during a general house meeting presided over by the association’s president, Shahram Sarwar Chaudhry.

Addressing the general house meeting, the office bearers condemned the Quetta incident and demanded the immediate arrest of terrorists involved in the incident. They said it was shameful that Raisani was busy ‘enjoying himself’ in London while people were being killed in his province.

The LHCBA also demanded a judicial inquiry into the Quetta bloodshed.

District bar associations in Dera Ghazi Khan and Faisalabad also staged protests.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, lawyers also observed a ‘day of mourning’ and boycotted court proceedings to express solidarity with the Hazara community.

Members of the Peshawar High Court Bar Association held a meeting demanding that the government take immediate steps to arrest the culprits.

WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY OUR CORRESPONDENTS IN LAHORE, PESHAWAR AND SUKKUR

Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2013.

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