QUETTA - In a latest sectarian killing, unidentified assailants shot dead Additional District and Sessions Judge (AD&SJ) Syed Zulfiqar Hussain Naqvi, his driver and gunman in the provincial capital on Thursday morning.

According to police, Zulfiqar along with his driver Musa Khan and gunman Abdul Shakoor was on his way to office from his residence located in the GOR Colony when armed men, who had already taken position near a railway crossing, sprayed his car with bullets. Resultantly, all three occupants died on the spot. The assailants as usual escaped from the site after committing the crime.

Soon after the incident, police and other law enforcement agencies rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area while the rescue workers shifted the bodies to the Civil Hospital for medico- legal formalities.

Eyewitnesses said the two murderers, who were riding a motorbike, fled the scene using narrow lanes.

Quetta DIG Operations Wazir Khan Nasir said armed men were already waiting for Zulfiqar at the railway crossing, adding that they opened indiscriminate fire the moment the car slowed down. “The killing of the judge appears to be a sectarian in nature,” he said.

Talking to media, CCPO Mir Zubair Mehmood said the AS&SJ was heading towards court along with his driver and gunman when his vehicle was ambushed by armed men with sophisticated weapons due to which all three inmates died on the spot. “We are concerned over the loss of precious lives; evidences are being collected from the spot to arrest the culprits,” he said, adding that two teams, headed by the DIG Investigation and the DIG CID, had been formed to investigate the killing.

Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Essa, lawyers and a large number of people reached the hospital after getting information about the incident. The chief justice assured the family members of the deceased that justice would be dispensed.

Dozens of people belonging to Shia community staged a demonstration outside the Civil Hospital to protest the unending series of killings and blocked the Jinnah Road, as the angry crowd chanted slogans against the killers.

Balochistan Bar Association, Balochistan High Court Bar Association, Balochistan Bar Council and other organisations boycotted all court proceedings throughout the province which would be continued for two more days.

Condemning the brutal assassination of Naqvi, the lawyers accused the provincial government of being failed to provide security to the people.

“Now even the lawyers, judges, doctors and professors are not safe,” they regretted, adding that a number of incidents of targeted killings had occurred but no measures were taken on the part of government for curbing these incidents.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has taken notice of the incident and sought a detailed report from the Balochistan Home Ministry, besides ordering immediate arrest of the culprits.

Meanwhile, Tahaffuz-e-Azadari Council has announced three-day mourning and appealed the Chief Justice of Pakistan for taking suo moto notice of the murder.

Syed Zulfiqar Hussain, born on March 1, 1971, joined the service in 1996 as judicial magistrate and he was currently working as an AD&SJ Quetta. He served almost across Balochistan including Turbat, Dera Murad Jamali, Hub, Quetta, Musakhel, Khuzdar, Pishin, Gwadar, Awaran, Jhal Magsi, Qilla Abdullah, Chaman and Qilla Saifullah.

Agencies add: President Asif Ali Zardari has expressed grave concern over the killing of Zulfiqar and ordered immediate probe into the gruesome incident.

President Zardari has directed Interior Minister Rehman Malik to probe the incident and report to be presented at the earliest.