Pakistan: Killing Quetta’s legal eagles: the aftermath of chaos

December 19, 2016

More than 50 lawyers were killed in Quetta on Aug 8 this year as they gathered to mourn the death of the Balochistan Bar Association (BBA) president Bilal Anwar Kasi in a gun attack earlier that day. In the aftermath, 2,000 clients remain without legal representation, causing unprecedented delays in the high court and lower trial courts — both previously strained with increasing civil and criminal cases. At present, 40pc of court cases in the province are pending.

Out of 32 districts, almost 26 have no legal representatives. This implies that Quetta-based lawyers must defend clients by travelling long distances. Consequently, 13,000 cases remain pending in the district courts and around over 6,000 in the Balochistan High Court (BHC) and two circuit benches in Sibi and Turbat. Frequent strike calls allow the BHC and lower trial courts to barely function for two days a week, with certain senior lawyers over-burdened with work. With clients searching for senior lawyers to hire, it is becoming challenging for those already dealing with an overload of cases, says a BHC lawyer, adding that one senior lawyer who died in the attack was handling more than 700 cases.


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