Les droits de l'Homme et la défense de la Défense | PAKISTAN

10th Day of the Endangered Lawyer – January 24, 2020: Focus on Pakistan

On January 24, 2020, national and international organisations of lawyers all over the world, including UIA, commemorated the 10th year of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, which was dedicated this year to raising public awareness about the situation of lawyers in Pakistan.

Lawyers from more than 40 cities took part in this international initiative and expressed their support for, and solidarity with, Pakistani lawyers.

Over the past decades, lawyers from Pakistan have faced unceasing threats of targeted violence, including murder, simply because they represent clients accused of certain acts, notably, blasphemy. More generally, Pakistani lawyers have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation, as well as judicial harassment and torture in detention, merely for engaging in their professional duties as lawyers. Their families also have been targeted, and some family members also have been murdered. Some lawyers have been threatened with disbarment and/or had their homes and offices raided by the police.

The most notorious attack on lawyers in Pakistan occurred on August 8, 2016, when terrorists attacked a Hospital of Quetta with a suicide bombing and shooting. At that time, the terrorists targeted a grieving crowd of lawyers who had gathered at the Hospital to mourn the loss of the former President of the Baluchistan Bar Association, who had been shot and killed earlier in the day. This notorious and egregious attack on lawyers resulted in the death of 56 lawyers and the injury of 92 others.

The situation of Christian lawyers or lawyers who are members of minority Muslim groups is also of great concern. In many cases, lawyers have been identified with their clients and their clients’ causes and violently attacked.

UIA once again supported the Day of the Endangered Lawyer. It actively joined a petition signed by more than 30 organisations, which was broadly disseminated and delivered to diplomatic representations as well as national, regional and international authorities.