THE shocking murder of Supreme Court lawyer Abdul Razzaq Shar on a Quetta thoroughfare on Tuesday raises a number of disturbing questions, especially with the accusations and counter-accusations that have emerged after the killing. The fact that the slain advocate had filed a petition in the Balochistan High Court calling for a treason case against PTI chief Imran Khan has also added to the mystery behind his murder. Razzaq Shar was headed to court when assailants sprayed his vehicle with bullets. Some members of the legal community believe the late lawyer was shot due to a family feud. However, PML-N leader and aide to the prime minister Attaullah Tarar was quick to level serious allegations against the PTI, holding the party chief responsible for the crime. The PTI shot down the allegations, and levelled charges of its own, blaming the prime minister and the interior minister for the lawyer’s murder. Meanwhile, it was reported on Wednesday that the advocate’s son had nominated the PTI chairman in the murder case.
The state should make it a priority to uncover the facts and bring the killers of Razzaq Shar to justice. Mr Tarar’s jumping the gun and blaming the PTI in great haste is not the way to go about; without a fair investigation, it will be taken as political point-scoring on his part. It is unfortunate that, despite a heavy security footprint in the province, violence is never far from the surface in Balochistan, including Quetta. This includes sectarian violence, as well as tribal and family feuds which are settled through the gun. Therefore, a thorough and credible probe is essential to unmask the killers and their motive. Moreover, both the state and PTI need to exercise caution in such a volatile and polarised political atmosphere. Lobbing accusations of murder against individuals — public figures no less — must not be done frivolously; if such allegations are made without concrete evidence, the atmosphere will be further vitiated. In order to scotch wild rumours, the law must be allowed to take its course. Razzaq Shar is the second high-profile lawyer to be gunned down this year; in January senior advocate Latif Afridi was murdered in the Peshawar High Court bar room. Only a prudent and transparent investigation can reveal the facts behind Razzaq Shar’s slaying and quell speculation.
Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2023