In January 2016, when Taliban leader Mullah Omer Mansour vowed “not [to] kill the soldier in cantonment, the lawyer in the court, and the politician in the senate and parliament,” but instead in schools, colleges, and universities which in his view, prepare them for these roles, no one believed the Taliban would keep their word. The August 8 attack on lawyers in Quetta’s military guarded Civil Hospital betrays that doubt; the Taliban proved they could keep their word. They also proved they could hit their targets wherever and whenever they want—no matter if the facilities are managed by civilians or the military.

As Mansour said, the Taliban did not attack lawyers in the courts. Rather, in what came to be seen as a well-choreographed attack, the group selected a high profile target — Mr. Bilal Anwar Kasi, the president of Balochistan Bar Association — to lure lawyers to leave their chambers for the civil hospital, where a suicide bomber (apparently) stood waiting. The moment panicked mourners — lawyers in great numbers, accompanied by journalists — thronged the hospital to mourn their colleague’s death, the suicide bomber pulled the trigger. He killed himself along with 70 others while critically injuring over 100. Out of 70 dead, it is said, 55 are lawyers.

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Image courtesy of Inter Services Public Relations