Published Sep 11, 2018 12:32pm

SHC orders reopening of May 12, 2007 mayhem cases

Shafi Baloch

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday ordered reopening the cases regarding the May 12, 2007, mayhem, which claimed at least 50 lives in Karachi.

The court, which had earlier reserved its decision on a plea to reopen the 65 pending cases — most of which were declared 'A Class' (proceedings in the case frozen with the approval of the court) — announced its verdict today in connection with the May 12 cases.

According to the verdict, the SHC chief justice (CJ) will appoint a judge to oversee the proceedings, a joint investigation team will be constituted to probe the matter, and the provincial government will constitute a tribunal for the cases.

The court directed the Sindh government to write a letter to the SHC CJ to relaunch an inquiry into the matter.

Around 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in attacks on rallies organised by members of political parties and legal fraternity who had attempted to receive the then deposed chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chau­dhry, at the Karachi airport ahead of a lawyers’ gathering.

Justice Chaudhry was forced to fly back to Islamabad after having been restricted to the airport for nine hours. MQM's Waseem Akhtar was home adviser to the Sindh chief minister at the time.

Petitioner Iqbal Kazmi had moved the court to constitute a judicial commission to probe into the matter. The federal government representative and amici curiae (friends of the court) had argued in the favour of the petitioner whereas the Sindh government had opposed the idea in the court.

The petitioner held former president Pervez Musharraf, MQM founder Altaf Hussain and Akhtar, who is currently serving as mayor Karachi, as respondents in the petition. He contended that the MQM had committed the massacre on the orders of Musharraf.

Earlier on May 12 this year, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had directed the high court to decide the case within three months. Subsequently, the court reserved the decision after both sides had completed their arguments.

The counsel for the Sindh government had contended during the hearing of the case that there was no need to ignite the 11-year-old issue. He argued that during the current year a larger bench of the high court had declared the case non-maintainable.

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Opportunism in retrospect

File: Karachi was under siege as violence reigned supreme on May 12, 2007. At the end of the day, 34 people were ...