Lawyers are protesting against killing of two lawyers, who were gunned down by unidentified assailants when they were heading for court, during demonstration at Malir court in Karachi on Saturday, March 24, 2012.        —(Rizwan Ali/PPI Images).

KARACHI: A former president of the Malir Bar Association and his young lawyer son were shot dead a few yards from their Malir home on Saturday in what appeared to the investigators and different organisations as part of the recent spate of killing of professionals on sectarian grounds.

Sixty-year-old Salahuddin Haider Jaffery with his son Ali Raza Jaffery — in his mid-20s — were targeted in a rickshaw in Ghazi Town near the Bakra Piri area of Malir minutes after they had left for the courts, police said.

They added that the suspected gunmen on a motorbike sped away after the shooting that sowed fear and panic in the area.

“There is a petrol station in the area and the killings took place close to it,” said Inspector Sarfaraz Kakazi, the SHO of the Malir City police station.

“It appears that the two gunmen on a motorbike were waiting for their target and as the rickshaw slowed down over a speed bump, they ambushed the victims.”

The rickshaw driver, he said, remained unhurt but was so traumatised that he took almost an hour to regain his senses and share the details. The victims were the residents of the same area and travelled by their own car, but due to some mechanical fault in the car, they hired a rickshaw on Saturday morning to reach the Malir courts, he added.

“We have collected nearly half a dozen spent bullet casings of a 9mm pistol,” said Inspector Kakazi. “The victims were hit in the faces, chests and the upper torsos. The bodies were handed over to the family after medico-legal formalities at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.”

Known as ‘the father of the Malir Bar Association’, Mr Jaffery was its founding president in 1994 and remained in that post till 1999. He was said to be affiliated with the ruling Pakistan People’s Party. He had been in the legal profession for the past 40 years and was a high court lawyer. His young son was unmarried and had enrolled as a lawyer only two years ago. The father of three sons and two daughters, Mr Jaffery originally hailed from Dadu district.

“We have talked to the victims’ family and their close lawyer friends. They said neither Mr Jaffery nor his son was handling any high-profile or sensitive case these days,” said DSP Rao Iqbal, the area’s sub-divisional police officer. “Facts are yet to be ascertained, but considering the recent incidents of killings, it appears that they have been targeted on sectarian grounds.”

His assessment squared with the statements issued by the Jafria Alliance and Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen, who condemned the killings and termed it the continuation of “persistent violence against a particular community”.

Allama Abbas Kumaili and Maulana Hasan Zafar Naqvi, leaders of the two organisations, respectively, also demanded result-oriented investigations into the recent killings of lawyers.