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Nationwide Strike and Mourning After Suicide Attack Targets Lawyers in Pakistan - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudi Arabia condemned and denounced the bombing that targeted a hospital in the city of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province in southwest Pakistan, that resulted in dozens of people being killed or injured.

An official source at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the country’s condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of Pakistan. The source also wished the injured a speedy recovery and emphasised Saudi Arabia’s solidarity with and support for Pakistan.

A large number of lawyers yesterday went on strike and marched to protest against the suicide attack that killed 70 people in southwest Pakistan. The attack targeted a crowd of about 200 people who were mostly lawyers and journalists that had gathered at the Civil Hospital in Quetta where the corpse of the president of the Baluchistan Bar Association, Bilal Anwar Kasi had been transferred to. Kasi was assassinated on Monday.

Shops, businesses, schools and universities in Quetta and beyond remained closed as the government announced three days of mourning. Police have been deployed to the site of the explosion. Jamaat-Ur-Ahrar, a Pakistani Taliban faction, and ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Pakistani authorities have not acknowledged either of these claims.

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) said its lawyers would be boycotting court proceedings, and observing a week of mourning.

The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) said in a statement that “Lawyers throughout the country will boycott court proceedings on Tuesday in protest against the killing of lawyers in Quetta yesterday,” and added that provincial and district bar councils would follow suit. Protests were organised in a large number of cities including the capital Islamabad, Karachi and Quetta, and most of the victims have been buried.

On its part, Jamaat-Ur-Ahrar, which appeared in 2014, claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack this year that targeted Gulshan-e-Iqbal amusement park in Lahore and killed 75 people at the end of March. The US State Department added Jamaat-Ur-Ahrar, a dangerous faction of the Taliban in Pakistan, to its list of global terrorist organisations last week. It described it as “a faction of the Pakistani Taliban movement” which is active in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is considered a branch of ISIS in Pakistan and Afghanistan and a large number of Taliban veterans have joined the terrorist organisation.