On Saturday 04 March unidentified gunmen shot a prominent human rights lawyer dead in what appears to have been a targeted killing, in Shabqadar, near the Afghanistan border.
The gunmen who were travelling on a motor cycle drew up alongside the car and shot Muhammed Jan Gigyani as he was driving through the city. He was critically wounded and died en route to hospital. Gigyani was a prominent human rights lawyer affiliated with the secular Qaumi Watan Party (QWP). He was a senior member of the Charsadda Bar Association and had previously served as the Shabqadar Bar Association president.
Muhammed Jan Gigyani was also affiliated with several small political parties at local level and always spoke out against terrorism and injustice. According to local community leaders “he was a staunch supporter of democracy, human liberty, education and peace”. He had twice stood unsuccessfully as a candidate in the general elections for the Provincial Assembly.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), the banned militant group responsible for many of the recent militant attacks in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the killing.
Shabqadar, where the lawyer was gunned down, is located near Mohmand Agency and falls in Charsadda district, where suicide bombers killed at least seven people near a court complex on 21 February in an attack claimed by JuA.
On 15 February, the group also carried out a suicide attack on the headquarters of the Mohmand Agency’s political administration, killing three law enforcement personnel and two civilians.
The most devastating suicide attack carried out by the group was on 13 February at Charing Cross on Lahore’s busy Mall Road. The bombing, which targeted police officials present at a protest, left 13 dead and 85 injured. Pakistani officials say JuA has been planning attacks and operating from Afghanistan.