December 9, 2016
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) is a committee of lawyers and other human rights defenders who promote human rights and the rule of law internationally through advocacy, legal research and education LRWC also campaigns for lawyers and other human rights defenders in danger because of their advocacy. LRWC has Special Consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
LRWC condemns in the strongest terms the two separate attacks targeting the Balochistan legal community on 8 August 2016 in Quetta: the assassination of Bilal Anwar Kasi and the subsequent bombing of the emergency ward area of the Sandeman Civil Hospital that left over 70 people dead, the majority of whom were lawyers, over 100 injured. The fact that the numbers of people killed and injured is still unknown four months after the tragedy is of great concern. Bilal Anwar Kasi, a prominent lawyer and president of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association, was in his car enroute to his office when he was shot by two motorcycle riding gunmen on the morning of 8 August. Prior to his death he had announced a two-day boycott of court to protest the recent murders of lawyers in Quetta. Many lawyers, journalists, and friends had gathered at Sandeman Civil Hospital in Quetta to accompany the body of Bilal Anwar Kasi when the bombs went off. According to one estimate, 78 people including at 57 lawyers were killed, and 120 others injured.Many of the lawyers killed were advocates for victims of enforced disappearances in Balochistan. The assassination and bombing are believed to have been pre-meditated and well planned attacks on the legal community of Balochistan. The bombing has wiped out a generation of Quetta’s lawyers, a loss that cannot be replaced. A loss of lawyers of this magnitude in a single day has left a void in the legal community in Balochistan.