Unidentified miscreants opened fire at estranged PPP leader Sardar Latif Khosa’s house in Lahore in the early hours of Friday, injuring his driver, he said.
“Shots were fired at my house, injuring my driver. Unknown men fired shots and fled,” the senior lawyer told Dawn.com.
“I was listening to a client’s case at my home. I heard shots, my driver came inside and said that he has been hit by a shot,” the former Punjab governor said.
“When I went outside, I saw [bullet] holes in the gate. A bullet also hit my car. The shots were fired from a Kalashnikov.
Pictures and videos of his house showed several bullets lying on the ground inside and outside his house along with a bullet hole in his car’s front bumper.
Bullet holes and damage caused by the firing could also be seen on his house’s main gate.
Khosa said that till 7pm on Thursday, he was attending a lawyer’s convention — organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association and Lahore High Court Bar Association — where he talked about the “Constitution’s supremacy […] and the judicial system”.
“I said [during the convention] that unconstitutional government has been imposed in two provinces. The way chants are raised outside the Supreme Court, it is contempt [of court],” the veteran lawyer said.
He lamented: “There was a huge applause there but here [those remarks] sparked [the firing].”
Khosa asserted: “The lawyer’s movement cannot be weakened by such tactics. We are standing with the chief justice [of Pakistan].
Noting that “power is being grossly abused”, the former Punjab governor said he had never before seen such a period in the country’s history.
The senior lawyer also recalled the incident in January this year when his son suffered injuries after two unidentified motorcyclists opened fire at him outside the Punjab University Gate.
“The suspects have not been caught [even] in a city like Lahore. This is Defence [area] — Lahore’s red zone.”
Following the incident, Cantt Superintendent of Police Owais Shafique, the Punjab police, Defence Housing Authority’s security team and Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan reached Khosa’s house.
Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar took notice of the incident and sought a report from Lahore Capital City Police Officer Bilal Siddique Kamyana.
The IG ordered a “complete investigation” to be conducted on the matter. He also directed that the culprits be immediately arrested with the help of CCTV footage.
Visiting Khosa’s house, Barrister Ahsan said: “They think that the lawyers will be intimidated by these incidents intended to make us afraid. We strongly condemn this incident.”
SCBA condemns incident
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) strongly condemned the incident and called upon the government, IG and relevant quarters for a thorough investigation to arrest the culprits and bring them to justice.
It warned that otherwise, the association would observe a countrywide full-day strike on June 19 (Monday).
SCBA President Barrister Abid S Zuberi said Khosa was one of the “few remaining independent and fearless voices advocating, for the cause of rule of law, civilian supremacy, independence of judiciary and against civilian trials in military courts”.
He added that such an attack on his residence sent a “threatening message to the legal community against exercising their right to freedom of speech without fear of retribution”.
“This incident clearly showcases the absolute anarchy prevalent in the country where fundamental rights of the citizens are being violated, judgments of the Superior Courts are ridiculed and disobeyed and the Constitution is repeatedly violated by failing to conduct elections in the time frame mandated by the Constitution and the orders of the Honourable Supreme Court.
“Therefore, this association cannot turn a blind eye towards the safety and security of its senior members who play a crucial role in safeguarding the fundamental rights of individuals, ensuring access to justice and upholding the principles of democracy. Any harm or threat to their well-being undermines the foundations of a just and democratic society,” he said, according to a press release issued by the association.
Additional reporting by Haseeb Bhatti.