Senior Lawyer Latif Afridi shot dead in PHC Bar room

PESHAWAR: Former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Latif Afridi was killed after he was shot six times at the Peshawar High Court (PHC) bar room.
The senior lawyer was moved to the Lady Reading Hospital of Peshawar but the facility said that the senior lawyer was dead on arrival. The hospital administration added that six bullets were fired at Afridi.
SSP Operations Kashif Abbasi said that attacker Adnan Afridi s/o Abdul Sami Afridi has been taken into custody from the crime scene.
The police are investigating how did the gunman manage to get inside the high court premises despite the security.
The SSP said that it seems a matter of personal enmity between the two families while further investigations are underway.
When asked about the security arrangements at the high court, the police official said they are looking into it and action will be taken if any lapse was found.
It may be noted that Latif Afridi was acquitted in a murder case by Swat Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Judge Aftab Afridi and his three family members a few weeks ago.

He was booked along with nine others in the case of the judge’s assassination.

As per details, Aftab Afridi, his wife, a one-and-half-year grandson and daughter-in-law were en route to Islamabad from Peshawar via Swabi when unidentified assailants attacked his car near the Ambar Interchange in April 2021.

However, Latif, the then-SCBA president, had denied his involvement in the incident and said that he and his son had been falsely implicated in the case. He had also assured the authorities of fully cooperating with the relevant agencies.

The judge’s family, however, in a press conference rejected the verdict and requested the high court for justice, saying they have evidence of the lawyer’s involvement in the murder.

Condemning the brutal murder of Afridi, the SCBA announced to boycott of the courts today (Tuesday). The association demanded the government take solid measures against the assassinations of the lawyers.

Sindh Bar Council also condemned the murder and announced a boycott of the court proceedings across the province.

The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has also condemned Afridi’s killing and said that it was concerned about the failure of the KP government in providing security to courts and lawyers.

PBC, in a statement, demanded establishing security around the courts while announcing a strike and boycott of courts across the country tomorrow. “Lawyers will not appear in courts across the country tomorrow,” their statement read.

The statement by the PBC stated that the former president of the SCBA was a valuable asset to the legal fraternity.

“Afridi continued to fight for the supremacy of law and constitution, democracy and freedom of the judiciary,” the PBC wrote in the statement.

Meanwhile, the Peshawar Bar Association has also announced a strike on Tuesday following the senior lawyer’s murder. “Lawyers will not appear in courts tomorrow,” their statement mentioned.

In its statement of condemnation, the Lahore High Court Bar Association and Lahore Bar Association’s leaders said that their lawyers would not appear in court tomorrow as well.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in his condolence message, expressed deep sorrow and grief over the jurist’s murder in Peshawar.

“The worsening law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is alarming, the provincial government should immediately take steps to improve it.”

Extending his heartfelt condolences to Afridi’s family, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the deceased was an “effective voice” against extremists and terrorists.

In his condolence message, the PPP leader said that he was deeply saddened by the shocking news of Afridi’s murder. He maintained that Afridi was a true democratic leader, adding that he continued raising his voice for democracy and rule of law in the country.

The foreign minister directed the concerned authorities to bring the suspects involved in the murder of Afridi to justice. “May his soul rest in peace and may his family find the strength to bear this loss,” he prayed.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marium Aurangzeb, while deploring and condemning the “targeted murder”, said that Afridi was a just person who always supported the truth.

In a statement, she maintained that “the tyrannical conduct in the courtroom in KP shows the deteriorating peace and security condition.”

The minister also showed respect to the deceased and said: “We salute the struggle of Abdul Latif Afridi for the supremacy of the law and constitution”.

Federal Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, condemned the murder, and also questioned the law and order situation.

National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani also condemned the murder of the lawyer.

The custodians of the National Assembly lauded the services of the lawyer in politics and legal community.

Afridi, a senior leader of the National Democratic Movement, was born in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) Khyber District on November 14, 1943.

He served as Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president during 2020-21 and had been vice-president of the Pakistan Bar Council and president of the Peshawar High Court Bar.

He also took part in politics and served as the first provincial president of the Awami National Party (ANP) from 1986 to 1989. He was elected as a member National Assembly in 1997.