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August 12, 2018
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SHC questions failure to arrest culprits of May 12 mayhem

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August 12, 2018

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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Saturday questioned the failure to arrest the culprits involved in the May 12 mayhem and expressed its frustration by observing that the police had declared most of the cases as untraceable despite that the culprits were shown in video footages in the media.

Hearing the petition seeking a judicial inquiry into the incident, the SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro asked the provincial prosecutor as to who masterminded the May 12 incident as the Chief Justice of Pakistan was obstructed from entering the court premises. Over 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.

The additional prosecutor general submitted a summary of May 12 cases mentioning that 65 cases were registered out of which 35 were declared A class as untraceable, while 24 cases were pending before the trial courts. The prosecutor submitted that Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar was also involved in May 12 arson cases and was on bail.

Additional attorney general Salman Talibuddin submitted that the court can order constitution of a commission to ascertain the facts but it would not serve the purpose as several cases are already pending before the trial courts. He suggested that the court may pass direction for expeditious trials of cases related to the May 12 mayhem.

The bench had earlier observed that court proceedings were also paralysed due to the May 12 mayhem, and inquired as to what action was taken against those involved in the obstruction of the justice.The court observed that amicus curie did not appear and directed him to come prepared and address the court on the points raised in the petition on August 13 so the case could be decided. The court also issued notice to the advocate general Sindh to appear before the court on the next date of hearing.

The amicus curiae Faisal Siddiqui had suggested three issues before the court to determine as whether people were denied access to justice on May 12 2007 and if so who was responsible for that. The other element which required determination was the criminal negligence committed by public officials who did not prevent the May 12 riots and if that was the case then what shall be consequences in the law and to determine criminal liability of the accused involved in the incident.

The May 12 mahyem proceedings could not be concluded due to the imposition of a provisional constitutional order (PCO) in November 2007, however the case was later disposed of by another bench during the PCO, and now it is pending since then for revisiting the court orders.

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