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Terror Attacks wiped out the whole Generation of Balochistan’s Lawyers in Pakistan

It has been 12 days since the lawyers began boycotting and refusing to represent their clients in the court

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Representational Image (Lawyers Movement in Pakistan). Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • The suicide bomb blast on August 8 at the entrance to the emergency department of the hospital in Quetta, has left the region lawless in more than one way
  • As the country mourned the victims, the lawyers said they would boycott court proceedings indefinitely
  • Now, there are very few lawyers left in Baluchistan and it will take years for the legal community to recover from this tragedy

August 19,2016: In what can be described as a devastating and inhumane attack, about 60 senior practicing lawyers and barristers were killed in the Baluchistan’s Capital Quetta on Monday, August 8. The suicide bomb blast on Monday at the entrance to the emergency department of the hospital in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, has left the region lawless in more than one way.

Balochistan faces many problems ranging from a suppressing government to the terrorist organisations, that has left the city in a precarious condition. Baluchistan, which is the home of the decades-old separatist insurgency is filled by real grievances over neglect and lack of political representation, mentioned The Washington Post. It borders Iran and Afghanistan and has abundant natural resources like oil and gas. There is violence between Sunni and Shia sect of the Muslim community, and leaders of the province are widely considered corrupt by many. There have been many reports of journalists being kidnapped as well, that makes it difficult for foreign journalists to step in that area.

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The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, Pakistani Taliban faction and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, have both claimed responsibility for the suicide attack at a hospital in Pakistan’s Quetta that killed more 70 people and injured more than a hundred.

The lawyers were at the emergency unit, because earlier that day (August 8) Bilal Anwar Kasi, the former president of the Balochistan Bar Association was shot by armed men. He was on his way to work when he was attacked and later he died due to the injuries. The lawyers and two cameramen who were present at the hospital to pay respect to Kasi who died from the blast at the gate of the emergency room were killed too.

Map of Balochistan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Map of Balochistan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

As the country mourned the victims, the lawyers said they would boycott court proceedings indefinitely. It has been 12 days since the start of the boycott and the lawyers have refused to partake in judicial activities. They have refrained from appearing in the district sessions and high courts throughout the city. The lawyers refused to show up to represent their clients and judicial activities remained suspended.

Now, there are very few lawyers left in Baluchistan and it will take years for the legal community to recover from this tragedy.

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A member of the Baluchistan Bar Council, Barkhurdar Khan, was one of the few lawyers who survived the attack. Through social media, he has expressed his sadness and the details of the heartbreaking incident. He has practiced in Quetta for nine months and he shares his grief over the death of his fellow law-practitioners, mentioned a leading news portal.

“All, I repeat ALL senior practicing lawyers and barristers died today. The number of junior lawyers, who are the sole breadwinners of their homes and who are now unemployed runs into hundreds, “said Khan to The Washington Post. “Most of those who died were first-gen educated. The scenes of misery and loss cannot be put into words. The bent shoulders of their fathers, the broken backs of their brothers. Their kids, still oblivious to their own loss, playing and hoping.”

– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump’s Tough stand on Pak

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) issued a statement Monday welcoming Donald Trump's stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

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Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons
Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons

Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.

Khwaja Wali Kirani in Balochistan. Wikimedia Commons

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.

The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.

No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.

The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.

“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.

The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.

A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.

The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.

Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.