Pakistani lawyers announce week of mourning over hospital blast

Islamabad: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on Tuesday announced a week of mourning and a three-day strike to express solidarity with lawyers, mediapersons and others who lost their lives in the tragic hospital attack in Quetta on Monday.

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded hospital in Quetta on Monday killing 70 people and injuring over 100 in one of the worst terror attacks in Pakistan this year. The Quetta media, however, put the death toll at 93.

PBC vice chairman Farogh Naseem and executive committee chairman Abdul Fayyaz condemned the targeted killing of Balochistan Bar Association (BBA) president Bilal Anwar Kasi and the subsequent suicide attack on Quetta’s Civil Hospital, Dawn online reported.

Most of those killed were advocates, including former BBA president Baz Mohammad Kakar, while several others were seriously injured.

Both associations have appealed to the lawyers community to observe a country-wide strike on Tuesday as a mark of respect to the fallen and injured lawyers. The PBC has also announced a week’s mourning, during which time lawyers will hold protest meetings in their bar rooms and wear black armbands to condemn the incident, Dawn online said.

Deploring the “utter failure” of the federal and provincial governments in maintaining law and order in Balochistan, the PBC has demanded immediate arrest of those responsible for the heinous attack and that they be brought to justice as soon as possible.

The council urged the federal and the provincial governments to provide compensation to the families of the deceased; 7 million Pakistani rupees ($66,900) for each lawyer who was killed and 3.5 million Pakistani rupees for each injured, Dawn online noted.

Expressing solidarity with the families of the victims, SCBA leader Syed Ali Zafar said this was the first time in the history of the Supreme Court that a strike had been called, adding that it was an attack on the country’s judicial system.

The Malir Bar Association also staged at sit-in on the National Highway to condemn the bombing.

Its president Ijaz Bangash said that lawyers would also stay away from courts for the next two days.

This was the worst terrorist attack in Pakistan this year since the March 27 bombing at Gulshan-e-Iqbal park in Lahore that left 75 people dead, Dawn online added.