Constitutional Law

Lawyer Protests Spark Pakistan Violence; At Least 7 Killed

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Lawyer protests in a major Pakistan city yesterday sparked widespread rioting there in which at least seven people were reportedly killed, offices were set ablaze and a bar association office was gutted.

“Trouble broke out when attorneys—some supportive of the new government and others critical—clashed near the main courts complex in Karachi,” reports the Associated Press. “Soon after, armed men in civilian clothes began shooting and torching cars in several districts, witnesses said.”

A more detailed BBC account states: “Police say that five people were killed when rioters set fire to lawyers’ chambers in a building adjacent to the city court in downtown Karachi.” It says at least a dozen people were injured, in addition to the seven who were killed in protest-related violence.

As discussed in an earlier post, lawyers attacked a former cabinet minister after a meeting in Lahore on Tuesday. Although he was not seriously injured, the incident resulted in a threat by Aitzaz Ahsan, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, to resign in protest.

Ahsan reportedly said at the time that he would resign, but today’s BBC article says that he backed away from doing so at a Wednesday press conference in Lahore and instead called for Pakistan’s president, Pervez Musharraf, to resign.

Additional coverage:

Village Voice: “Lawyer Death March in Pakistan”

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