ISLAMABAD  -The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has condemned the attempted assassination of Justice Baqar Maqbool, a judge of the Sindh High Court (SHC).

“This is the second bombing targeting the Pakistani judiciary in 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, in a statement issued to media on Thursday.

According to local media sources, TTP, an armed group operating in northwestern Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the bombing, admitting that it specifically targeted Justice Maqbool for his ‘anti-Shariah’ judgements 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,” said Varadan.

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. In March 2013, the ICJ also condemned the suicide bombing inside a Peshawar courthouse killing four people and injuring 30 others.