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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

Representational Image (Lawyers Movement in Pakistan). Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • 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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Zeenat Shahzadi, Missing Pakistani Woman Journalist Fighting For Jailed Indian, Found After Two Years

A Pakistani woman journalist who was allegedly kidnapped while pursuing the case of an Indian engineer two years ago has been rescued

Zeenat Shahzadi
Zeenat Shahzadi had allegedly been kidnapped in Pakistan's Lahore city in 2015. Twitter.

Lahore October 21:  It was reported by PTI that A Pakistani journalist, Zeenat Shahzadi had “forcibly disappeared” while working on the case of Indian citizen Hamid Ansari.

  • A Pakistani journalist, Zeenat Shahzadi who was allegedly kidnapped two years ago has been rescued.
  • Zeenat Shahzadi, a 26-year-old reporter of Daily Nai Khaber and Metro News TV channel, was kidnapped by unidentified men while she was reaching her home in Lahore on August 19, 2015.
  • She was pursuing the case of an Indian engineer jailed in Peshawar on espionage charges.

The chief of Pakistan’s Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (CIED) Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said that Shahzadi was retrieved nearby the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on Thursday night. He also mentioned the key roles of tribals from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces in her recovery.

Zeenat Shahzadi
Rescue of Pakistani Journalist is celebrated in Pakistan. Twitter.

Ansari, a resident of Mumbai had been arrested for illegally invading Pakistan from Afghanistan to meet a girl he had befriended online in 2012. He was convicted to three years imprisonment on charges of spying and entering Pakistan illegally.

On Shahzadi being kidnapped, her brother Saddam Hussain committed suicide in March last year, making the situation an importance by the media.

Human rights activists, including former Secretary General of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, IA Rehman, have raised their voice to set Ansari free since he has completed to serve his sentence.

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Pakistan Elected to UN Human Rights Council along with 14 other countries

The new members will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018

un human rights council
UN General Assembly elect 15 new members of Human Rights Council. Wikimedia

United Nations, October 17, 2017 : Fifteen countries, including Pakistan, have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly.

In a vote on Monday, Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine were elected, a Foreign Office statement said.

They will serve a three-year term from January 1, 2018. (IANS)


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Syrian Militia: End Is Near for Islamic State in Raqqa

Syria ISIS
Smoke rises near the stadium where the Islamic State militants are holed up after an airstrike by coalition forces at the frontline, in Raqqa, Syria. voa

Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria’s Raqqa and the city may finally be cleared of the jihadists Saturday or Sunday, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia told Reuters Saturday.

The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State said around 100 of the jihadist group’s fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and had been “removed from the city,” but it still expected difficult fighting “in the days ahead.”

It did not say how the fighters had been removed or where the fighters had been taken.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said remaining Islamic State fighters were being transported out of Raqqa by bus under a deal between Islamic State, the U.S.-led coalition and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG. There was no immediate comment on that report from the coalition or the SDF.

Fighting since June

Civilians who escaped from Islamic State
Civilians who escaped from Islamic State militants rest at a mosque in Raqqa, Syria. voa

The SDF, backed by coalition airstrikes and special forces, has been battling since June to oust Islamic State from Raqqa city, formerly its de facto capital in Syria and a base of operations where it planned attacks against the West.

The final defeat of Islamic State at Raqqa will be a major milestone in efforts to roll back the group’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, where earlier this year the group was driven from the city of Mosul.

“The battles are continuing in Raqqa city. Daesh (Islamic State) is on the verge of being finished. Today or tomorrow the city may be liberated,” YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters by telephone.

In emailed comments to Reuters, coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon said about 100 Islamic State fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and were “removed from the city,” without giving further details.

“We still expect difficult fighting in the days ahead and will not set a time for when we think (Islamic State) will be completely defeated in Raqqa,” he said, adding that around 85 percent of Raqqa had been liberated as of Oct. 13.

Some civilians escape

Around 1,500 civilians had been able to safely make it to SDF lines within the last week, he added.

Omar Alloush, a member of a civilian council set up to run Raqqa, told Reuters late Friday that efforts were under way to secure the release of civilians and “a possible way to expel terrorist elements from Raqqa province,” without giving further details.

An activist group that reports on Raqqa, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, said on its Facebook page Saturday that dozens of buses had entered Raqqa city overnight, having traveled from the northern Raqqa countryside.

The Observatory said Syrian Islamic State fighters and their families had left the city, and buses had arrived to evacuate remaining foreign fighters and their families. It did not say where they would be taken.

During the more than six-year Syrian war, the arrival of buses in a conflict zone has often signaled an evacuation of combatants and civilians.

The campaign against Islamic State in Syria is now focused on its last major foothold in the country, the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, which neighbors Iraq.
Islamic State is facing separate offensives in Deir el-Zour by the SDF on one hand, and Syrian government forces supported by Iranian-backed militia and Russian airstrikes on the other. (VOA)