Following is an account of the massacre that was carried out in the judicial complex of Islamabad on March 5, 2014 by Taliban. The federal government had announced a ceasefire in its military operations in response to their call for a ceasefire. It has been reported by the Dawn newspaper as follows:
Within hours of the ceasefire announced by the federal government, the capital city faced the onslaught of what appears to be a terrorist attack.
The early morning gun and bomb attack on the district courts in the heart of Islamabad left 11 people, including a District and Sessions Judge dead and 29 injured.
This is the first time a judge has been killed in a terrorist rampage inside a courtroom.
The district courts in Islamabad are located in the commercial area of Sector F-8.
The courts and lawyers’ offices are located in a maze of narrow lanes inside the main commercial sector where many of the courts and offices have flimsy doors, makeshift walls and glass fronts as they were converted from structures constructed to function as shops.
The cardboard and glass doors provided no protection on Monday morning as the gunmen shot around randomly.
Police claimed that they recovered hundreds of bullet shells.
From the accounts of law enforcement personnel and eyewitnesses, the attackers entered the area from two different locations at around nine in the morning.
One team (of reportedly two men) entered the premises through a restaurant near the court of civil judge, Sohaib Bilal Ranjha, where they shot dead a young woman lawyer, Fizza Malik, who was in her early 20s, as well as two others. Another young woman lawyer, who was making her first appearance in the courts, was injured.
They also shot and injured Civil Judge Azhar Nadeem.
Initial investigations of the police lead them to assess that this team was simply supposed to fire indiscriminately and create chaos, which would then allow the other team of attackers to make straight for the district and sessions judges where their target was Judge Rafaqat Ahmed Khan Awan.
This second team entered from the south side.
Awan, the police are assuming, was the target of the attack.
As the attackers were making their way to the district and sessions courts, they randomly shot at people and offices before they arrived at Awan’s courtroom. While other judges managed to escape, one of the attackers threw a grenade into Awan’s courtroom. Awan ran into his chambers behind the courtroom, which were connected to the court by a door that opened near the judge’s chair.
Kicking that door down, the attackers entered his chambers and shot him.
The judge was then carried out by his staff through the backdoor to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Some observations on this brazen act of terrorism:
Pakistan had announced a ceasefire in its military operations against the terrorists in response to their declaration of ceasing attacks for one month.
The timing of the attack, carried soon after a ceasefire by the military indicates a deliberate breach of trust.
The killing spree bears the hallmark of a cold blooded and deceitful act that aims at spreading terror and creating insecurity in the capital city.
The terrorist attack on a judicial complex is also an attempt to show disapproval of the country’s constitution. According to the Taliban, it is contrary to Islamic teachings.
Security has been tightened in the courts of the country and security alerts issued at the national level.
The talks between the government and Taliban representatives to reach a peaceful settlement are continuing at the same time.
It becomes hard to understand and predict the intentions of Taliban who are in a continual breach of their own commitments to the government. They had declared a ceasefire for a month and within hours of this announcement went on a killing rampage in the capital. Lawyers, Judges, bystanders and clients who happened to be in their way became easy targets. It must be remembered that the Taliban are closing the doors of reconciliation and heading towards a path, which only leads to their obliteration.
Dawn News March 5,6 & 7, 2014