"a junior lawyer who was wearing his gown, opened fire"
A prominent Pakistani lawyer was murdered at Peshawar High Court by a colleague who shot him six times while dressed in full judicial robes.
Abdul Latif Afridi, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan, had been sitting with co-workers in a break room at the time.
A junior lawyer identified as Adnan Khan entered the room and opened fire at Abdul.
The gunfire caused a lot of panic, with many running out of the building.
The 79-year-old was shot six times. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Senior police official Ijaz Khan said:
“The killer, a junior lawyer who was wearing his gown, opened fire at close range and then handed himself over to the police.”
According to eyewitness Muhammad Rizwan, as Adnan surrendered, he said:
“Don’t shoot, I had a feud with him and I have taken my revenge.”
Muhammad Rizwan also said that the gunman shot at Abdul from less than a foot away.
In a statement, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif described Abdul as “a seasoned jurist and a brave politician who was known for his righteousness”.
He also condemned what he called the “worsening law and order situation” in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital.
Police said there was a case pending against the deceased lawyer.
It is alleged that Abdul was involved in the murder of Adnan Khan’s father Samiullah Khan, who was also a lawyer.
During questioning, Adnan accused the lawyer of orchestrating the murder of his father in 2015.
Police said they were investigating a “security lapse”, which allowed Adnan Khan to sneak into the room with a gun.
It is reported that lawyers are not searched upon their entry into Peshawar High Court, despite the heavy police contingent deployed there.
Police are also monitoring the CCTV footage.
Security arrangements at the court have previously been questioned, especially after a teenage boy shot and killed a US national of Pakistani origin who was on trial on blasphemy charges inside the courtroom in 2020.
Abdul Latif Afridi was very popular among his fellow lawyers, who immediately protested his killing. They have subsequently boycotted the courts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Abdul had been a vocal critic of the powerful military’s alleged interference in Pakistani politics and of Islamist militancy.