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TTP claims killing of senior Rawalpindi judge

Updated August 06, 2015

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The killing is the latest in a series of attacks on civilians working for the criminal justice system. ─ AFP/File
The killing is the latest in a series of attacks on civilians working for the criminal justice system. ─ AFP/File

PESHAWAR/RAWALPINDI: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Thursday claimed the killing of a lower court judge in Rawalpindi, the insurgent group said in a statement.

"Our special task force has targeted additional session judge Tahir Khan Niazi in Rawalpindi successfully," TTP spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said in an emailed statement. He did not say why Niazi was targeted.

Abdul Hafiz, a clerk at the sessions court in the city next to Islamabad, confirmed Wednesday's killing.

"Some people came to his home and fired on him," he said.

Read more: Senior judge shot dead at his home

According to the police, Mr Niazi’s wife heard the door bell at around 1.30 pm and found a stranger at the door who forced his way inside the house and took the mobile phone. Mr Niazi rushed to his wife’s rescue and attempted to overpower the intruder when another man entered the house and shot him, injuring him critically.

The two men fled the scene with a third, waiting outside the house on a motorcycle. They also took Mrs Niazi’s mobile phone.

According to the police, the gunman used a 30-bore pistol and fired two shots, one of which hit the judge.

Threats and attacks on civilian judges and lawyers prompted the government to set up secret military courts in February to try militant suspects, following a Taliban massacre of 134 children at the Army Public School last December.

The government says militants usually walk free because civilians are too scared to convict them. Lawyers and judges agree security is a problem, but they also complain of outdated laws, poorly trained and poorly paid police, and political interference.

Saroop Ijaz, the Pakistani representative of rights group Human Rights Watch, said the government must reform the long-neglected criminal justice system. But so far, there has been little sign of progress, he said.

"The government needs to have a public conversation on what is being done to fix that broken system," he added.