KARACHI: Armed men riding motorbikes on Thursday morning killed a senior lawyer and leader of the lawyers’ wing of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in a car ambush in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, prompting the legal fraternity to boycott court proceedings for two days.
The chief justice of the Sindh High Court (SHC) took notice of the incident and sought a report on it.
Police said Advocate Waqar-ul-Hasan was targeted while he was on his way to the SHC soon after he left his residence in Gulshan-i-Iqbal’s Block 7.
The officials added that as the lawyer reached a corner of a street in a Corolla car, four suspects riding two motorcycles intercepted him. They opened fire on him and sped away. The victim sustained four bullet wounds and was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.
The SHC bar association shortly after the incident boycotted court proceedings in protest against the killing of their colleague.
SHC chief justice Maqbool Baqar also took notice of the killing and directed the inspector general of Sindh police to submit a report on the incident.
The lawyer’s killing followed targeted killing of Dr Syed Hyder Raza and three students of Jamia Dar-ul-Khair — Ali Ahmed, Riaz Jabbar and Imran Faizullah — in Gulistan-i-Jauhar on Wednesday evening.
Karachi East DIG Munir Ahmed Shaikh told Dawn that preliminary investigation showed that two groups carried out the three targeted incidents in district east in the past two days.
He said the killing of Dr Hyder Raza on Wednesday evening and of lawyer Syed Waqar Shah on Thursday were apparently committed by the same group. The gunmen wore helmets and shalwar kameez and the colour of the motorbikes was the same and in both killings silencer-fitted pistols were used.
DIG Shaikh said the group, which he claimed also killed Mufti Usmanyar Khan of Jamia Dar-ul-Khair recently, was allegedly involved in the gun attack on the students of the same seminary on Wednesday in Gulistan-i-Jauhar. He said that two suspected killers of Mufti Usman were shot dead in an alleged encounter in Nazimabad and since then there had been a lull in sectarian killings for a month. It appeared that the group restrengthened itself, he added.
Sindh PML-N leader Nihal Hashmi said Mr Shah might have been targeted on sectarian grounds as he was Shia.
Investigation team, reward
Taking notice of these killings, the additional inspector general of police, Karachi, Shahid Hayat Khan, on Thursday formed a special team to investigate the murders, said a police spokesperson.
Under the supervision of CIA DIG Sultan Ali Khawaja, a team comprising SSP-East Pir Mohammad Shah, SIU SP Farooq Awan and SP (investigation, East [I]) Abdul Hameed Khoso would investigate the murder. The DIG-CIA would be allowed to take any other police officer on the team from any unit of the Karachi police who might be able to assist them in solving the murder cases.
Besides, the city police chief announced a reward of Rs500,000 for those who would help police in arresting the criminals behind any of these three killing incidents.
Legal proceedings remained suspended on a second consecutive day at the subordinate judiciary as lawyers on Thursday observed boycott against the killing of their colleagues and announced that the boycott would continue on Friday.
Earlier on April 9, the lawyers had stayed away from work to observe the sixth anniversary of the Tahir Plaza tragedy.
Following the Thursday killing, the Karachi and Malir bar associations gave the boycott call to protest the murder of ex-president Jacobabad district bar association Anwar Ali Jakhrani in Sukkur on April 8 and vice president of PML-N legal wing in Sindh Advocate Waqar Hussain Shah in Gulshan-i-Iqbal on April 10.
The cases fixed at the city courts, district courts in Malir and special courts of the city could not be taken up for hearings as the undertrial prisoners were sent back to prisons without being produced in courts because of lawyers’ boycott.
The Karachi bar announced that the boycott would continue on Friday when lawyers would stage a sit-in on M.A. Jinnah Road and hold a general body meeting. The Malir bar also announced that the lawyers would continue to observe the boycott on Friday.
Waqar Shah’s profile
Syed Waqar Shah was a senior lawyer and vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League legal wing in Sindh. He was the fourth leader of the legal wing to fall victim to targeted attacks.
Last year Advocate Naimat Ali Randhawa was killed in North Nazimabad while earlier in July 2011 Fahim Riaz Siddiqui and Saleem Bhatti were gunned down on Sharea Faisal.