Pakistan’s Embattled Lawyers: A Long Quest for Justice

By Faiqa Mahmood

Faiqa Mahmood is a Visiting Fellow at the South Asia Program of the Stimson Center, where she is currently conducting research on the nuclear discourse in Pakistan. Ms. Mahmood graduated from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy with a focus on International Security Studies and Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization. Ms. Mahmood is also a licensed attorney at the Islamabad High Court, Pakistan, and has been called to the Bar of England and Wales. Her writings have appeared in Foreign Policy's South Asia Channel, Harvard Kennedy School's Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy, Georgetown Security Studies Review, and the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, among others.

On September 2, a suicide bomber struck a court in Pakistan’s northern city of Mardan, killing twelve. On August 8, a suicide bomber dressed in a lawyer’s uniform attacked a hospital in Quetta, Balochistan, killing 74, mostly lawyers who had gathered at the hospital to protest the targeted-killing of a colleague earlier that day. Both attacks were claimed by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a Taliban faction.

Pakistani lawyers are being targeted because they are vocal, peaceful, and effective civil rights activists in a region where such voices are either absent or silenced. They have a deep-rooted tradition of battling at the frontlines of the fight for freedom and justice, and represent a rare institution that bridges the state and civil society. Pakistan’s judiciary desperately needs better protection, and the United States can leverage its aid and diplomacy to ensure that happens.

Access all of The Cipher Brief’s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+ Member.

Sign Up Log In

Categorized as:Asia ReportingTagged with:

Related Articles