A prominent Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist was shot dead on Monday at a courtbuilding in the northwestern city of Peshawar, according to police and a witness.
Abdul Latif Afridi, 79, a former president of Pakistan’s Supreme Court bar association, was shot six times in a break room at the Peshawar High Court, Capital City police officer Muhammad Ijaz Khan told CNN.
Khan identified the suspect as junior lawyer Adnan Sami Afridi, 24, not directly related to the deceased Afridi, and said he was taken into custody.
Witness Hayat Roghani said the alleged gunman raised his hands to surrender after the shooting, saying he had taken revenge for his father’s death. Police also told CNN the alleged gunman said it was a revenge killing.
The suspect’s father, lawyer Samiullah Afridi, was killed by unknown gunmen in 2015. At the time, two militant groups claimed responsibility for killing Afridi, who worked for the doctor who helped the CIA look for Osama bin Laden.
Though a heavy police contingent is normally 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.
Latif Afridi, also a former lawmaker, had been a vocal critic of the powerful military’s alleged interference in Pakistani politics and of Islamist militancy.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif issued a statement on Twitter expressing his grief and “deep sorrow” over Latif Afridi’s death.
He also condemned what he called the “worsening law and order situation” in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is the capital.
Reuters and CNN’s Sophia Saifi in Islamabad contributed reporting.