Pakistani lawyers boycott courts to protest Quetta carnage
Senior Pakistani lawyers have staged a strike in much of the country to protest a terrorist bomb attack that killed dozens of people, including many of their colleagues, during a gathering in Balochistan.
“Lawyers throughout the country will boycott court proceedings on Tuesday in protest against the killing of lawyers in Quetta yesterday,” the Pakistan Bar Council said in a statement on Tuesday, adding provincial and district bar councils would join the strike.
On Monday, a bomber detonated his explosives near the Civil Hospital in Quetta city of Balochistan Province, where some 200 lawyers along with journalists had gathered to accompany the body of a prominent attorney shot earlier in the day.
At least 70 people lost their lives and 112 others wounded in the bombing, according to official figures.
Balochistan government spokesman Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar said the province’s schools would also remain shut on Tuesday “to mourn the loss.”
He added that funerals for many of the victims have already been held.
“Those who were living in and close to Quetta city have already buried their loved ones, while those belonging to far flung areas will be buried today,” said Kakar.
Meanwhile, lawyers in Lahore, the capital of Punjab Province, took to the streets on Tuesday and chanted anti-terrorism slogans.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association has announced a week-long mourning over the fatal assault.
Ali Zafar, the association’s president, condemned the attack on Monday and said, “This is not just an attack on lawyers, this is an attack on all citizens. We have always stood with democratic forces. And we have been targeted.”
Both a pro-Taliban militant group in Pakistan named Jamaat-ur-Ahrar as well as the Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the bomb blast at Quetta hospital.
Daesh, which is mainly active in Iraq and Syria, claims 200 people died in the attack.
Balochistan has been witnessing ethnic violence and numerous attacks for years, with minority Shia and Hazara community in the province being the regular target of kidnapping and murders by extremist militants.
The poverty-stricken province, which is rich in gas and mineral resources, shares borders with neighboring Afghanistan to the north and Iran to the east.
The Pakistani army said Monday the assault was “specially targeting” the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through undermining Balochistan’s security.