SHC reopens May 12 case
KARACHI, Oct 18: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday restored to its original position a constitutional petition seeking a judicial inquiry into the May 12, 2007 carnage in Karachi.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam recalled the SHC’s earlier order of dismissal of the petition, filed by Syed Iqbal Kazmi, a civil rights campaigner, who had become an intervener in the suo motu proceedings in acts of violence on May 12.
Over 50 people were killed and more than 100 vehicles torched during the visit of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who had arrived here to address a lawyers’ function in the city in 2007.
The CJP, who at that time had been made dysfunctional by military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, was stranded and later returned from Karachi airport due to the fierce gun battles that broke out on the roads towards the airport.
The petitioner impleaded the former interior secretary, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain, former Sindh home adviser Waseem Akhtar, former home secretary retired Brig Ghulam Mohammad Mohtram, the former Rangers director-general, the former provincial and city police chiefs and the former SHO of the City Courts police station as respondents.
Mr Kazmi moved an application for restoration of his petition submitting that his petition was dismissed as withdrawn at a time when he was behind bars. He said he had signed the withdrawal application under duress and pressure during detention.
The provincial law officer did not oppose Mr Kazmi’s application for restoration of his petition on the May 12 carnage and the court restored the petition to its original position.
The petitioner submitted that it would be appropriate that a seven-member bench of the SHC, including at least three of the judges who had conducted previous proceedings, be constituted to re-hear the matter.
He said that earlier the petition was heard by a larger seven-member bench and prayed to the court to reconstitute a full bench for the petition.
The petitioner stated that the seven-member bench was hearing the case when Gen Musharraf sacked the judges on Nov 3, 2007.
He stated that after dissolution of the seven-member bench, the SHC reconstituted a five-member bench since many judges of that bench were not invited to take the oath under the Provisional Constitution Order by Gen Musharraf.
Mr Kazmi stated later the bench comprising PCO-judges dismissed the suo motu petition observing it was not maintainable.
He contended that unruly mobs took over the area and manhandled lawyers as the then home secretary and provincial police chief violated court orders of providing security to the chief justice of Pakistan during his visit to Karachi.
He stated that the government had failed to protect life, liberty, freedom of movement, and other fundamental rights of citizens, and prayed to the court to initiate contempt proceedings against then Sindh home adviser Waseem Akhtar for delivering derogatory remarks against the chief justice in the media.