Renowned Pakistani lawyer, human rights activist shot dead

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A prominent Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist known as a vocal critic of both the military and extremist militants was shot dead on Monday at a court in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said.

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Abdul Latif Afridi, a former president of Pakistan’s Supreme Court bar association, was shot multiple times, apparently by one gunman, on the Peshawar High Court premises, police official Kashif Abbasi told Reuters.

“We have arrested the culprit from the crime scene,” he said, adding that the suspected shooter had dressed as a lawyer to gain entry to the court premises.

He identified the suspect as Adnan Sami Afridi, not related to the deceased Afridi.

The accused did not try to flee after the shooting, lawyers on the premises said.

Though a heavy police contingent is deployed at the Peshawar court, lawyers are not body searched on entry. Security arrangement 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.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the killing and expressed his grief and sorrow.

Afridi, a renowned human rights and political activist, has been a vocal critic of the powerful military’s alleged interference in Pakistani politics and of extremist militancy.

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