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June 2, 2018
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SHC seeks details of action taken in May 12 riots case

Karachi

June 2, 2018

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The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the provincial prosecutor general to submit a detailed report on action taken against the people involved in the May 12 riots case.

More than 50 people were killed on May 12, 2007, in different parts of the city in violence and armed attacks on political parties and lawyers’ rallies that wished to welcome the then chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Chaudhry.

On Friday, hearing the petition seeking a judicial inquiry into the incident, the SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro directed the prosecutor general to file details of the cases against the people involved in the violence and the present status of their trial proceedings.

The bench observed that court proceedings were also paralysed due to the May 12 mayhem, and inquired as to what action was taken against the people who were involved in the obstruction of the justice system.

The SHC appointed advocates Faisal Siddiqui and Shahab Sarki as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter. The court was informed by the counsels that a larger bench of the high court was hearing the May 12 case.

They said the proceedings could not be concluded due to the imposition of a provisional constitutional order (PCO) in November 2007, adding that the matter was later disposed of by another bench during the PCO, and now the matter was pending since then for revisiting the court orders. The court adjourned the hearing until June 6 and directed the counsels to assist the court on the petition.

On May 12, 2007, Chaudhry was visiting Karachi to attend the Sindh High Court Bar Association’s golden jubilee celebrations. A suo motu notice was taken of the riots on the report of the SHC incharge registrar that was submitted before the then high court chief justice Sabihuddin Ahmed.

The registrar said the SHC and the city court buildings were surrounded by a mob, and they were stopping everyone from entering the courts’ premises.

The report said that because of the blockade of roads and the siege of the high court premises, a number of judges also faced hardships, which was evident from the letters of protocol officers of judges, including Justice Azizullah M Memon, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Mohammad Athar Saeed and Justice Yasmeen Abbasey, and information communicated by the driver of Justice (retd) Sajjad Ali Shah.

The SHC reconstituted a five-member bench, which dismissed the suo motu petition regarding the siege of the high court and the city courts buildings as “not maintainable”. The bench observed that the court, under Article 199, cannot assume the role of an investigator, and can only issue directions to expedite investigations and proceed in accordance with law.

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