Prominent lawyer Abdul Latif Afridi was gunned down in the bar room of the Peshawar High Court today (Monday) afternoon. The 79-year-old senior advocate was sitting with other lawyers when the assailant fired at him. Afridi was rushed to Lady Reading Hospital but the facility pronounced him “dead on arrival”. Lady Reading Hospital administration stated that Afridi was shot with six bullets.
The assassin has been identified as trainee lawyer Adnan Afridi, who himself is son of slain lawyer Samiullah Afridi and nephew of ATC Judge Aftab Afridi who was killed with his family in 2021. Latif Afridi was nominated as a suspect in the killing of Justice Aftab Afridi. The case appears to be one of “personal enmity” and “revenge” according to local sources.
On 30 October 2020, Afridi was elected president of the SCBA by securing 1,236 votes against his opponent Sattar Khan who managed to secure 968 votes. He had also served as the president of the Peshawar High Court Bar Association (PHCBA) five times, and the vice-chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council.
In addition to his illustrious legal career, Afridi had also served as a member of the National Assembly between 1997 and 1999. He was the first provincial president of the ANP from 1986 to 1989, and was also the ANP General Secretary from 2005 to 2007.
Abdul Latif Afridi, known to friends and loved ones as Latif Lala, was a highly respected lawyer and Pashtun nationalist politician who was elected president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) of Pakistan from 2020 to 2021
Born in 1943 in Tirah, Khyber tribal district, Abdul Latif Afridi attained his Master’s degree from Peshawar University in 1966. He received his LLB degree from the same institution in 1968. Before this, he had been expelled from a varsity for supporting Fatima Jinnah in the 1964 presidential elections.
In 1979, Afridi joined the Ghaus Bux Bizenjo-led Pakistan National Party (PNP), becoming its provincial president for the then-NWFP (today’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). In 1986, when the PNP was merged into the ANP, Latif Afridi became its first provincial president. In 1997, he was elected a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) from NA-46.
Latif Lala was a supporter of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) and was among the founders of the National Democratic Movement (NDM)
Afridi had been president of ANP’s lawyers wing, as well as vice president of the party’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter. But after decades of association, his basic membership was terminated by the ANP on 2 September 2019.
Afridi had been at the forefront of the 2007-09 lawyers’ movement that culminated in the restoration of former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. He was an ardent supporter of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), and became a founding member and senior leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) on 1 September 2021.
Within minutes of his death being confirmed by hospital and family sources, messages of shock and condolences started pouring in on social media. Prominent lawyers, journalists, human rights activists, politicians, civil society members, and people from all walks of life are expressing their condemnation of the attack and their sorrow at the untimely and horrific death of an eminent Pakistani jurist.
Many are quick to point out that, in his last speech in Peshawar barely an hour before he was killed, Latif Lala railed against the Taliban’s supporters and facilitators, saying that they will be responsible for plunging Pakistan into chaos if they did not work wholeheartedly towards ending war and conflict in the region.