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LAHORE: A lawyer on Tuesday gunned down his two cousins – who were also in the same profession – on the first floor of the Lahore Judicial Complex outside the courtroom of an additional district and sessions judge.

The motive behind the killing, according to police, was a simmering property dispute between the families of the attacker and his two cousins.

Some colleagues overpowered Kashif Zeeshan Rajpoot and handed him over to police who recovered a pistol from the attacker he used for firing.

Rana Nadeem and Rana Owais also were cousins and had been engaged in litigation with the suspect over a 1.5-kanal plot in Mughalpura.

The slain were also in legal profession

The Islampura police registered a case against the suspect under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

The incident created panic in the sessions court. The Punjab Bar Council (PBC) representatives took exception to what they said poor security arrangements by police at entry and exit of the complex.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took notice of the incident and constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to carry out investigation. Additional Inspector General of Police (Investigation) Malik Abubakar Khudabakhsh is heading the team and DIG (Investigation) Waqas Nazir, a district public prosecutor and a representative of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency are its members.

The team had been directed to submit its report within 48 hours (by Thursday) explaining as to how the lawyer succeeded in getting inside the court premises with a weapon. The JIT will also draw up an extensive security plan regarding checking of visitors/lawyers at the entry and exit points of the sessions courts.

Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Yawar Ali also took notice of the incident and sought a report from police.

The Bar Council condemned the incident and immediately suspended the licence of the lawyer. The council’s vice chairman demanded that the government ensure foolproof security of courts and announced a province-level strike on Wednesday (today).

It was the second incident of firing at sessions court within a month; an under-trial prisoner facing murder charge was shot dead along with a policeman by his opponent on Feb 1 last.

The Bar associations have long been questioning loopholes in the security of court premises. However, police pin the blame on lawyers who, they say, do not cooperate with the security personnel deputed at the entry and exit points of courts despite assurances given by the elected representatives of the bars.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2018