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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
  • 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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US Backed Fighters Say, ‘They Have Taken Position in Islamic State Enclave in Syria’

The enclave resembles an encampment, filled with stationary vehicles and rough shelters with blankets or tarpaulins that could be seen flapping in the wind during a lull in fighting as people walked among them

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US, Islamic state
Fire is seen during fighting in the Islamic State's final enclave, in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria March 17, 2019. VOA

U.S.-backed fighters said they had taken positions in Islamic State’s last enclave in eastern Syria and air strikes pounded the tiny patch of land beside the Euphrates River early on Monday, a Reuters journalist said.

Smoke rose over the tiny enclave as warplanes and artillery bombarded it. Another witness said the jihadists had earlier mounted a counter attack.

“Several positions captured and an ammunition storage has been blown up,” said Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, on Twitter late on Sunday.

The enclave resembles an encampment, filled with stationary vehicles and rough shelters with blankets or tarpaulins that could be seen flapping in the wind during a lull in fighting as people walked among them.

Backed by air power and special forces from a U.S.-led coalition, the SDF has pushed Islamic State from almost the entire northeastern corner of Syria, defeating it in Raqqa in 2017 and driving it to its last enclave at Baghouz last year.

islamic state, US
The Islamic State group’s last pocket of territory in Baghouz, Syria, as seen from a distance on Sunday, March 17, 2019. VOA

But while its defeat at Baghouz will end its control of populated land in the third of Syria and Iraq that it captured in 2014, the group will remain a threat, regional and Western officials say.

The SDF has waged a staggered assault on the enclave, pausing for long periods over recent weeks to allow surrendering fighters, their families and other civilians to pour out.

Since Jan. 9, more than 60,000 people have left the enclave, about half of them surrendering Islamic State supporters including some 5,000 fighters, the SDF said on Sunday.

People leaving the area have spoken of harsh conditions inside, under coalition bombardment and with supplies of food so scarce some resorted to eating grass.

Last month, the SDF said it had found a mass grave in an area it captured.

Still, many of those who left Baghouz have vowed their allegiance to the jihadist group, which last week put out a propaganda film from inside the enclave calling on its supporters to keep faith.

Suicide attacks on Friday targeted families of Islamic State fighters attempting to leave the enclave and surrender, killing six people, the SDF said.

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Late on Sunday, the Kurdish Ronahi TV station aired footage showing a renewed assault on the enclave, with fires seen to be raging inside and tracer fire and rockets zooming into the tiny area.

The SDF and the coalition say the Islamic State fighters inside Baghouz are among the group’s most hardened foreign fighters, though Western countries believe its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has left the area. (VOA)