PESHAWAR, Feb 8: A prominent lawyer and former office-bearer of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Malik Jarrar, was shot dead in Gulbahar area here on Friday morning.

A police official said the 47-year-old lawyer was taking his boys — Mohsin and Hassan — in his car to their school in Saddar. When they reached near a branch of the Meezan Bank on Gulbahar road they came under attack.

Quoting the children’s statement, the police officer said two men on a motorcycle fired shots from a pistol at the lawyer, who received a head injury. The attackers then opened one of the car’s doors and fired again at Mr Jarrar from close range.

The lawyer died while being taken to the Lady Reading Hospital. The boys remained unhurt. His brother, Ansar Hussain, told Gulbahar police that his family had enmity with no one.

Mr Hussain said he and Mr Jarrar were nephews of Gen (retd) Askari Raza Malik, the senior vice-president of the Imamia Jirga in Peshawar.

The Gulbahar police have registered a case and opened investigations.

The deceased was a former vice-chairperson of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of HRCP. According to sources, he was a thorough professional and helped the poor in need of legal assistance.

Members of the legal community boycotted court proceedings in protest against the murder and held a sit-in on Shershah Suri Road, in front of the Governor’s House. The Peshawar High Court Bar Association announced that lawyers would be boycotting court proceedings on Saturday (today) and the Khyber Bar Council called for a province-wide strike on Monday.

On their part, members of the Imamia Students Organisation, Imamia Jirga and Tehrik Nifaz-i-Fiqha Jafaria (TNFJ) condemned the killing and described it as a failure of the authorities to maintain law and order in the city.

A member of the Imamia Jirga, Akhundzada Muzaffar Ali, said the killings within a few weeks in Peshawar of Dr Riaz Hussain Shah, Dr Shahnawaz Ali, Abrar Hussain and Dr Jamal spoke volumes about the government’s performance.

“We boycotted a meeting convened by Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti last month for the simple reason that mere meetings will not solve the problem. The government should start arresting the killers of our brethren,” he remarked.

Mr Ali said people were being killed in broad daylight on main roads but police were not interested in arresting the people responsible. “We are now compelled to say that the authorities are responsible for the killings.”

He said some people wanted the Shias to open a war against the Sunnis but people belonging to the two sects had nothing to do with bloodshed. “A hidden hand is hatching a conspiracy to make the two sects fight each other,”

Mr Ali urged Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the killings.

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