The ICJ condemns the attempted assassination of Justice Maqbool Baqir, a judge of the Sindh High Court, who also sits on the anti-terrorism court in Karachi, Pakistan.
A bomb blast injured Justice Maqbool Baqir and thirteen others and killed at least nine people.
“This is the second bombing targeting the Pakistani judiciary in under six months. The ICJ is extremely concerned that these attacks signal a renewed challenge to the ability of the Pakistani judiciary to function as an independent institution,” said Sheila Varadan, ICJ’s South Asia Legal Advisor.
According to local media sources, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an armed group operating in northwestern Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the bombing, admitting that it specifically targeted Justice Maqbool Baqir for his ‘anti-shariah’ judgments and ‘ruling against the mujahideen’.
“Any physical attack on a judge constitutes a serious threat to the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. If the TTP or another armed group is deliberately targeting judges, it could constitute a crime under international law,” Varadan added.
Under international standards, including the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of Judges, Pakistan is responsible for taking measures to ensure the protection of members of the judiciary from acts of violence or other threats to their safety.
Earlier in March 2013, the ICJ condemned the suicide bombing inside a Peshawar courthouse killing four people and injuring thirty others.
Sheila Varadan, ICJ Legal Advisor, South Asia Programme (Bangkok), t: +66 857200723; email: sheila.varadan(a)icj.org