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Rare unity in Sindh PA on resolution to condemn May 12 mayhem

Updated May 13, 2017

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Lawyers in Sukkur hold a protest demonstration on Firday to mark the 10th anniversary of the May 12 carnage. ─ Online
Lawyers in Sukkur hold a protest demonstration on Firday to mark the 10th anniversary of the May 12 carnage. ─ Online

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the May 12, 2007 mayhem in Karachi.

While lawmakers from both sides of the aisle delivered hard-hitting speeches, a rare solidarity was seen in the house when the resolution was put to the vote and adopted unanimously without any amendment.

It reads: “This assembly vehemently condemns the culprits of brutal killing of innocent citizens on 12th May, 2007 who were peacefully struggling for the independence of judiciary in Karachi.”

Speaking on the resolution, its mover Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro said that 10 years ago a military dictator had removed the then chief justice of Pakistan after failing to get his resignation and his decision had ignited the struggle for the independence of judiciary.

He said when the CJP was coming to meet lawyers in Karachi, workers of different political parties had decided to reach the airport to welcome him. “When a procession was taken out from my house, we found a curfew-like scene on roads, where containers were placed to block the road.”

He said he along with Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Raza Rabbani, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, N.D. Khan and others saw that from the COD bridge armed people were raining bullets on the people and underneath the bridge unarmed policemen were standing like spectators, as the arterial Sharea Faisal was under the control of the armed people.

He said the people of Karachi picked up 50 bodies from the streets. He said the incumbent Karachi mayor was the then adviser to chief minister on home affairs and he had conceded to placing containers on roads and disarming police on that day. Besides, the then military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf also waved his fist while addressing a public meeting in Islamabad the same day and told the people that he had demonstrated his power in Karachi, he added.

Mr Khuhro said that media as well as ambulances and charity workers were also attacked on that day. PPP’s Ghulam Qadir Chandio regretted that till today it was not known who was responsible for the mayhem.

Syed Faisal Sabzwari of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement said his party had also taken out a rally from the Numaish traffic intersection to Tibet Centre and lost its 14 workers.

Terming it the worst day in the history of Karachi, he said the May 12 events were a conspiracy against the MQM.

He also waved a photo in his mobile phone showing armed men with PPP leader Sherry Rahman on her vehicle.

He said the Sindh Bar Council had demanded the then government on May 9, 2007 to place containers to check troublemakers.

He said it was the PPP’s 10th year in power and it ought to set up a judicial commission so that by next year the people could know who the criminals responsible for the tragedy were.

Mehtab Akbar Rashdi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional said 10 years had passed since the tragedy and it had become a matter to ponder as to why “we have become a part of the conspiracy”.

“Why are we silent over Benazir’s murder, tragedy of Baldia factory fire, killing of 17 persons in Gambat and other incidents? All evidence of the May 12 tragedy was present as a Sindhi channel had directly reported the tragedy from the scene,” she added.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Samar Ali Khan lamented that hundreds of people were killed in Karachi over the years but no action was ever taken against those responsible for the killing. “We have to be serious. If we fail to give exemplary punishment to those involved in the tragic events, not only this city, province but the country would be doomed.”

Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, who was presiding over the session, said everyone was aware of the events and they knew who was behind the mayhem.

Before the chair called it a day at 2.20pm, the house deferred consideration of remaining business from the agenda for May 15 on the motion of Mr Khuhro.

Issue of minister’s inappropriate remarks

Earlier, speaking on a point of order, Sorath Thebo of the PML-N raised the issue of inappropriate remarks by Minister Imdad Pitafi during his speech in Tuesday’s sitting.

The chair, however, disposed of her point of order and reminded her of a parliamentary practice that no discussion could take place after the speaker expunged any inappropriate remarks from the proceedings.

Mr Khuhro, who also holds the portfolio of food department, made a statement pointing out that in order to alleviate poverty from Sindh the government continued to take up certain measures, including the income support programme, that improved the situation.

He said some deaths were reported in the media but it was possible that five children in Thar died of natural causes and not due to want of medical facility or poverty.

However, he said, the Sindh government in view of the drought-like situation in Mithi, had decided to supply free 50kg wheat per family to all 270,000 registered families.

Speaking on a point of order, Jam Madad Ali of the PPP said that during the April 20 by-election a youth was shot dead. He alleged that on the influence of Sindh police chief A.D. Khowaja the names of those responsible were not mentioned in the FIR and the inquiry of the murder was also transferred to Karachi.

He appealed to the Sindh High Court chief justice to take suo motu notice to provide justice to the victim’s family.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2017