In a shocking incident of targeted killing, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and senior lawyer Latif Afridi was shot dead inside the Peshawar High Court (PHC) bar room.
As per details, the shooter entered the bar room and opened fire, hitting Latif Afridi with at least six bullets. Latif Afridi was rushed to the Lady Reading Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries during treatment.
“Latif Afridi was sitting with the other lawyers in the PHC bar room when a gunman opened fire at him. The police have arrested the gunman who has been identified as Adnan Afridi. The attacker is related to Latif Afridi,” said Senior Superintendent of Police, Kashif Abbasi.
“A small weapon, an identity card and a student card have been recovered from the attacker. We suspect that the attack was carried out because of personal enmity,” Abbasi said.
The killing of Latif Afridi is not a first in his family. His cousin Aftab Afridi, who was an anti-terrorism judge in Swat, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP), was also killed in a firing incident in 2022. In that case as well, family members were held accused, who were later acquitted by the anti-terrorism court in Swabi.
Monday’s incident has sent shockwaves among the lawyer community, who have expressed serious concerns over the security arrangements in the Peshawar High Court.
The Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA) has termed the incident as a major security lapse, raising questions as to how a man with a weapon could reach the bar room, located deep inside the high court building.
The brutal murder of Latif Afridi has been widely condemned, with senior politicians, including the Prime Minister, expressing their grief over the incident.
“I pray that the bereaved family bears this loss with fortitude. The worsening law and order situation in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa is alarming. The provincial government should take immediate measures in this regard,” said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Former President Asif Ali Zardari said that “Afridi was a strong supporter of democracy and a staunch opponent of extremism”.
Former SCBA president Ahsan Bhoon termed Latif Afridi as an upright man since his student days who faced tough times during Ayub Khan’s martial law.
“He was part of the students’ union in his young days and later he joined the ANP (Awami National Party). Afridi had also suffered tough times during martial law during ex-dictator Ayub Khan’s tenure. Afridi was a strong advocate of democracy. He resisted all anti-democratic forces throughout his life,” said Bhoon.
In view of the tragic incident, the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) and the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Bar Council (KPBC) have announced a strike on Tuesday.
The lawyers’ associations have called on the government to ensure protection of lawyers and judges, who are unsafe even inside the court and bar rooms.