World

An Entire Generation Of Pakistani Lawyers Killed

| by Nicholas Roberts
Lawyers killed in Quetta attackLawyers killed in Quetta attack

Lawyers in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan have frequently been targeted as Sunni extremists, who are known for inflicting terror on the province's Shi'a minorities.

The province borders Afghanistan and Iran and contains major oil and gas resources, but is in the constant throes of violence.

In an Aug. 8 bombing attack, roughly 60 lawyers from the Baluchistan capital of Quetta were killed at a hospital, where they had gathered to mourn the shooting death of a well-known colleague, Bilal Anwar Kasi.  

Both an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban as well as the Islamic State -- ISIS -- have claimed responsibility for the attack, although analysts find the latter claim to be dubious, according to The Washington Post.

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In a region where leaders are mostly considered to be corrupt and journalists are frequently kidnapped, tortured and murdered, the capital city has just lost "an entire generation of lawyers" as The Post notes.

"Lawyers throughout the country will boycott court proceedings on Tuesday in protest against the killing of lawyers in Quetta yesterday," a statement from the Pakistan Bar Council read.  It added that regional and district bar councils would also be boycotting proceedings, Al-Jazeera reports.

Some international figures, such as Ban Ki-moon and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, have issued brief statements of solidarity for those who died in the attack. But so far the international response has been rather muted.

Barkhurdar Khan, a member of the Baluchistan Bar Council and one of the few survivors of the horrible attack, made several posts on social media after the attack took place.

All, I repeat ALL senior practicing lawyers and barristers died today. The number of junior lawyers, who are the sole breadwinners of their homes and who are now unemployed runs into hundreds.

Most of those who died were first-gen educated. The scenes of misery and loss cannot be put into words. The bent shoulders of their fathers, the broken backs of their brothers. Their kids, still oblivious to their own loss, playing and hoping. Every lawyer that has ever given me a lift home is dead, except for one, Naveed Qambrani, he is critical and was airlifted to Karachi.

Sources: The Washington Post, Al-Jazeera / Photo credit: shaimaa khalil, BBC/Twitter

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