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Sindh govt urges CJ to defer visit

May 10, 2007

KARACHI, May 9: The government of Sindh on Wednesday requested Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to postpone his planned event in Karachi to a new convenient date in the larger public interest, claiming that there were intelligence reports about the possibility of a terrorist attack on him.

In a letter to the registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Sindh Home Secretary Brig Ghulam Mohammad Mohatarem said that the chief justice was scheduled to visit the city on May 12 to address the Sindh High Court Bar in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court.

The letter said the event, which otherwise would have been an event exclusively for the judiciary and the bar, was drawing political interest. All political parties, including those in the opposition and the government, were planning to hold rallies in the city on that day.

It said that tension in the city was on the rise and law-enforcement and security agencies were unanimous in their assessment that there could be armed clashes and bloodshed. “There are also intelligence reports that terrorist groups may take advantage of the environment to launch terrorist attacks.”

The home secretary’s letter said that Saturday being a working day, there would be an extreme public inconvenience and disruption of traffic.

Although, the provincial government would take all possible measures to prevent any untoward incident, the postponement of the scheduled visit by the chief justice would be in the larger interest of the people, the letter concluded.

Syed Irfan Raza adds from Islamabad: Interior Ministry’s spokesman Brig Javed Iqbal Cheema told Dawn that it was the responsibility of the Sindh government to provide security to the participants of any public meeting in its jurisdiction, and therefore the chief justice had been advised not to attend the lawyers’ function.

However, Justice Iftikhar’s counsel Aitzaz Ahsan said the chief justice would attend the event.