LAHORE – Armed motorcyclists killed a senior advocate near Jain Mandir crossing in broad daylight in what appeared to be a “sectarian attack” here in the provincial metropolis early Friday, police sources and eyewitnesses said.

Syed Shakir Ali Rizvi, 55, was on his way to Lahore High Court (LHC) on his daily routine when four unidentified gunmen riding two motorcycles intercepted his car at the crossing.  Resident of Ghaziabad in Islampura area, Rizvi, was a recognised lawyer, leader of a religious sect, and also an important social activist, his close friends stated.

The assailants pumped bullets into his body and fled away without facing any resistance.  “The attackers did not open fire on the driver and the assistant of the lawyer. The modus operandi of the attackers suggests that it was targeted killing,” a police officer said, requesting his name not be mentioned.

A senior lawyer told reporters at the crime scene that Syed Shakir had been appearing in the courts in connection with several terrorism-related cases to help bring some terrorists to justice.

Sources further revealed that the attackers stopped the vehicle, carefully identified the lawyer, and then pumped four bullets into his body.

Rizvi, also renowned religious activist, sustained one bullet in the chest and three in the belly and died on the spot. However, he was rushed to a hospital immediately, where doctors pronounced him dead.

Investigations police chief DIG Chaudhry Shafique Ahmed told The Nation that it was premature to say anything at this stage about the motives behind the gun assault. “We cannot rule out the possibility of targeted killing. We are investigating the incident keeping in view all aspects of the happening,” Shafique said.

The assailants were chasing the lawyer since he left his residence on his car (LE-5914) alongwith an assistant and the driver to reach the court. There was no policeman on guard in the entire area, where they gunmen stopped the car and fled away after killing the lawyer.

The early morning attack created worst panic and fear in the entire locality and many people, who were either on their way to offices or to drop their children at schools, were seen racing towards safe places. The attack also created traffic mess at the busy crossing. Heavy police contingents including senior police officers and several lawyers from the courts reached the crime scene soon after the happening. The Old Anarkali police have registered the case against unidentified terrorists under Section (302 PPC and 7/ATA) on the complaint of Naeem Ali, nephew of the deceased man. The police are investigating with no arrest made so far.

Meanwhile, the funeral prayers of Rizvi was held on Friday evening amid tight security and he was buried at a local graveyard. A great number of religious leaders, lawyers, and political activists attended the funeral prayers.

In May this year, gunmen killed an eminent author of the country Dr. Shabih-ul-Hasan in a similar assault in Cantonment area. The police have failed to nab the killers of Dr Hasan, a recognised poet and writer as well.