Pakistani lawyers on strike after Quetta attack

A suicide bomb attack in Quetta on Monday that targeted a group of mourning lawyers has sparked court boycotts across the country as lawyers call on the Pakistani government to protect their safety.

Nataneal Alfredo Nemanita Ginting

Commencing today, Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has declared a week of mourning and a three-day strike in response to Monday’s attack, which claimed at least 70 lives and wounded more than 100 more at a hospital in the provincial capital of Quetta, Balochistan. The attack targeted a large group of lawyers and journalists who had gathered at the hospital to mourn the death of prominent legal figurehead Bilal Kasi, who had been gunned down on his way to work earlier in the day. Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has claimed responsibility for both Mr Kasi’s murder and the attack on his mourners, though the group has not made clear why lawyers were targeted.

Calls for protection

Together with the Pakistan Bar Association, the SCBA has called the three-day strike across the legal profession to demand that the Pakistani government take action to ensure the security of lawyers and judges across the county. ‘We have been targeted because we always raise our voice for people’s rights and for democracy,’ said SCBA president Syed Ali Zafar in Lahore, adding that legal leaders will be preparing a long-term ‘plan of action’ to help ensure the safety and security of legal professionals in Pakistan.

Sources: Wall Street Journal; BBC

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