'Sindh govt has resources, lacks will to stop Karachi violence'

Published: August 30, 2011

Bringing army into Karachi would amount to a destruction of democratic institutions, says chief justice.

KARACHI: Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry slammed the Sindh government over the rise in Karachi violence during Tuesday’s hearing of the suo motu case on the security situation in the city.

(Read: Sindh police fails to impress indignant SC)

He said that the government has the resources and machinery to restore peace in the metropolis but lacks the will to do so. He directed the Sindh government to act immediately to curb the violence.

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ordered Attorney General Anwarul Haq to file a new report, carrying the latest information about those who are creating unrest in Karachi.

Court slams govt

“It is time for the provincial government to wake up,” the chief justice told the Sindh government’s counsel, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada. “The matter has become serious and a fundamental right to security is being violated,” he added.

In hidden words, the CJ said that bringing the army into Karachi to curb violence would amount to a destruction of democratic institutions and stated that the issue should be resolved democratically.

The chief justice questioned Pirzada about the police’s failure to identify victims of target killings, saying that FIRs were registered to unnamed persons.

He also expressed dissatisfaction that none of the accused were presented in Anti-Terrorism Courts, nor were issued a challan by the police. He slammed the police for not recording the statement of an injured victim who was recovered earlier this week.

He noted that the provincial government’s move to borrow federal security forces has proved very expensive. The better alternative, the CJ remarked, was to develop the provincial police force.

The govt’s version

Earlier during the hearing of the suo moto notice case of Karachi violence, the Sindh government’s Counsel Hafeez Pirzada told the court that 2.5 million foreigners are living in Karachi but less than 100,000 have been registered.

He maintained that in recent years, these foreigners have increased their influence and may be blamed for the rise in violence in Pakistan’s heartland.

Chronicling the history of ethnic clashes in Karachi, Pirzada said the Pashtuns and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) first clashed in Sohrab Goth during the rule of General Ziaul Haq in the 80s.

He said the local bodies system, introduced by former president Pervez Musharraf, aggravated ethnic tensions in the city.

The hearing of this case has been adjourned till September 5.

PPI adds

SC asks for intelligence reports, testimonies to be submitted

Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday directed the IG Police Sindh, Wajid Ali Durrani to submit progress reports of investigation in all murders, extortion and abduction cases including statements of 18 peopel who were recovered from the custody of target killers in the past month in Karachi.

The five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, again directed Attorney General Moulvi Anwarul Haq to submit investigation reports of Inter Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence & Intelligence Bureaus about target killings in Karachi on September 5, 2011, when the bench is expected to resume hearing suo moto case after Eidul Fitr holidays at its Karachi Registry.

Attorney General Moulvi Anwarul Haq requested for more time to submit reports of ISI, MI & IB on investigation into target killings, extortion, abduction & murders that took place from July 24 to August 24, 2011 in Karachi.

Ethnic divide along linguistic lines being fuelled by alien influx

Senior Advocate Abdul Hafeez Pirzada concluded his arguments on behalf of Sindh government and said that ethnic divide was strong in Karachi, where population increases annually, and influx results in the division of many localities on the basis of language. One reason was introduction of Language Bill in Sindh province by then government in early 1970s.

He Pirzada said that drugs, extortion mafias were extorting money in name of “protection money”. Non-enforcement of Citizenship Act, almost 2.5 million illegal migrants continued to live in Karachi, and were yet to be registered by National Aliens Registration Authority (NARA). Of these, only 100,000 such migrants were registered so far. He said that these armed migrants were involved in crimes and remain untraced.

Lack of witnesses hamper investigations

He submitted a report which put the non-arrest of suspected target killers due to lack of protection to eyewitnesses, who remain silent out to fear of being harmed by criminals. This leads to non-arrest of actual accused.

IGP Sindh Wajid Durrani said cases registered were charge sheeted with no headway into cases of target killings, extortion, abduction, as none of affectees was willing to record their statements.

CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked: “Mr. IG through your yesterday’s briefing only ethnic game was presented in court. Where are perpetrators. The abducted persons, who were later recovered, are giving their statements in media. But, you have no knowledge. Not a single preventive step was taken despite 365 people were killed in Karachi. Absolutely, no efforts were made either by any SHO, DSP Police or other law enforcement agencies.”

IGP Durrani said contingent of police & Rangers were deployed in affected areas & operations carried out.

Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali remarked: “We have witnessed what happened on night of May 12, 2007, when people were being killed and Rangers said they had no powers.”

Nationalist parties submit application to become party to Suo Moto hearings

Meanwhile, apex court allowed civil miscellaneous applications(No.4108, 531-K, 532-K & 533-K of 2011) submitted by President Awami National Party ANP, Sindh Bachao Committee, Sindh United Party, Karachi Bar Association, Sindh Bar Council, Muhammad Laiq, ex-MNA JI and three others with request that they may be pleaded as party in present proceedings.

A court order said: “As instant matter is being heard under Article 181(3) of Constitution, involving questions of public importance with reference to enforcement of fundamental rights, as indicated in order dated August 24, 2011, therefore, these applications are allowed. The applicants are impleaded as parties in this matter”.

The order further directed the Attorney General to submit the reports from agencies on next date of hearing.

Record testimonies of torture, target killing victims

The court also directed the police to record the statement of Asim Khan, who was found injured in a gunny bag, although he was thrown away considering that he had died. The court also directed the police to provide protection to him.”

Murder investigation of Advocate Muhammad Murtaza Chinoy

IGP Wajid Durrani in response to order dated August 26, 2011 said that investigations in murder of Advocate Muhammad Murtaza Chinoy had been entrusted to SP Karachi, Tariq Dharejo.

Adjourning hearing till September 5, 2011, the court ordered “it is noted that he (SP Tariq Dharejo) is supervisory officer whereas investigation is being conducted by SI Ghulam Murtaza Kakar. IGP is directed to associate a senior officer of the rank of DSP to conduct investigation. He agreed to entrust investigation to DSP Siraj Lashari, who shall be incharge of investigation and conduct investigation in association with SP Tariq Dharejo and report shall be submitted on the next date of hearing.”


Reader Comments (17)

  • Parvez
    Aug 30, 2011 - 2:44PM

    Stating the obvious does not help. How will this be resolved is what the people want to know.

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  • sunny
    Aug 30, 2011 - 3:01PM

    Is it possible the government could be held responsible for all this mess in karachi?? If so what action SC take against the government?? can dissolve it, or …………………? does constitution allow this??

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  • Arzoo
    Aug 30, 2011 - 3:48PM

    Stating the obvious does help. We all basically know what the Chief Justice is saying. However, we can take satisfaction that now it is being investigated and heard by someone who is unbiased and judicious and who has the power to summon the proper authorities to answer the charges. Coming from him will give us a modicum of satisfaction from hearing the obvious because basically he has the confidence of the nation.

    Pirzada is totally wrong when he says that the clashes between the Pakhtuns and Mohajirs first started in 1980s. To my knowledge, which I know firsthand, the first clash I remember was in 1964 when Ayub Khan had unleashed hired Pathan goons on the Liaquatabad population under the leadership of Gohar Ayub. There was a man named Ali Kausar who was involved but I was too young to remember who he actually was. Somebody more knowledgeable can refresh our memories. Then the Sindhis and Mohajirs clashed in the 1970s under Z A Bhutto.

    Fact is that, as the CJ says, the Provincial Government and by extension the Federal Government has totally and miserably failed in enforcing the writ of the State on Karachi which has become a lawless jungle. There should be absolutely no NO-GO areas no matter which political party controls it anywhere in Pakistan, let alone Sindh. How can a Federal Republic exists and there are No-Go areas which are controlled by drugs and land mafias in the disguise of political parties????

    I say bravo to the Chief Justice. The civil society needs to lend support to him by raising their voice and if we know anything firsthand, by offering our information to the Court through legal channels.

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  • HujjatNaqvi
    Aug 30, 2011 - 4:12PM

    Democratic system should be excercised at the cost human lives. Army should be ordered to maintain peace in the city. We do not understand why PM and his boss are reluctant to call army for the safety of the commoners in Karachi. For the time being the Sindh Government functioneries should take rest and draw their sripend at their homes without any protocol and security personals.

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  • Jeans
    Aug 30, 2011 - 5:10PM

    “It is time for the provincial government to wake up”. I think this refers to federal interior minister Rehman Malik’s continuous involvement in province instead of restoring peace. So now YES it is time for provincial government to wake and empower Police and Ranger to restore peace in the city without any discrimination.Recommend

  • Imran
    Aug 30, 2011 - 5:16PM

    What kind of comments he is making? His job is not to plan war games. Next time he will be discussing war strategies with the army. All this is going too far. He only needs to do his job honestly, and to take up the May 12 case.

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  • White Russian
    Aug 30, 2011 - 5:29PM

    Supreme Court should remain neutral in these political issues.

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  • Cautious
    Aug 30, 2011 - 6:04PM

    At the end of the day — look in the mirror – you voted these guys into office. You want change — quit voting for incompetent and corrupt people.

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  • I see dead people
    Aug 30, 2011 - 8:13PM

    @White Russian: People dying on the streets of Karachi is not just a political issue. Not for the dead at least.

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  • White Russian
    Aug 30, 2011 - 9:55PM

    @I see dead people:
    Nature of politics is cause of the violence, and they ‘ll continue dying until political reasons exist. What a CJ in Islamabad can do? Remember 12th of May 2007? Remember how many people died in a single day and what was the cause? After lot of empty rhetoric of “kefer kirdar tak poonchain gay”, what happened? May I dare ask what CJ did in that case after getting reinstatement? What happened to Imran Khan’s highly publicised litigation against Altaf Husain in London?

    It is all politics, and they are all political players. They act with political goals in mind. Litigants, adjudicators, politicians. All of them.

    But at least we should look at the track record of these shallow heroes before once again looking up to them during the times of crisis.Recommend

  • Malik Rashid
    Aug 31, 2011 - 12:27AM

    Your honor,

    Respectfully I beg to differ. Sindh Government does not have the resources. The fact that the little money they have is misused or stolen, should not keep us from the bigger picture. Pakistan’s corruption ridden, elitist economy is on the verge of collapse. Sindh government has not paid salary to their employees. Electricity generation and supply cannot continue due to unpaid bills. Turf war between competing political parties/mafia groups, to claim representation for state’s illegal extortion enterprise, has become ugly and deadly.

    20000 strong police force cannot manage law and order in a city of 20 million. State institutions have been deliberately and systemically deprived to the point of collapse. The army used to enjoy such opportunity of chaos in the past but their illegal activities isolated Pakistan from the international community. To avoid direct collision with world powers, the urge for complete control should be withheld. Economic decline dictates that all resource must be dedicated wholly to the army. Karachiites are not dying of starvation yet but their lives are taken for the promise to keep the army-boots shining.

    The state is is run on the principle of extortion and its civil face is just a farce. The saying ‘why hire a lawyer when you can hire a judge’ may not sound new to your ears. I am inspired by the slogan to cleanse the system but disenchanted by the fact that the most oppressive institution still dominates democracy and justice. The missing people are still missing without a trace and those abducted lately have been dumped dead after torture. The highest tip of one organ may not succeed in retrieving the whole body from the process of decay.

    After expressing determination to get to the bottom of Karachi’s problem without pausing for Eid, the Supreme Court hearing has been postponed until 5th September. Two sessions failed to produce any glimmer of hope. There is no hope that the Justice system and the executive branch will collaborate anytime soon to rein in the army. Reviving Pakistan from the death bed seems less possible than it did in November 2007. It is not your fault. We are incapable of cutting defense expenditure and the size of the army, though Pakistan has a hundred nuclear bombs and a large population of illiterate, jobless people without any means of subsistence.

    As long as the army keeps the weak, malnourished, undereducated Pakistanis overpowered and the educated elite sing the mantra of sovereignty for the brutal status quo, Pakistan cannot be resuscitated back to life. All other perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Pakistan must be brought to justice. To succeed in this cause, Pakistan’s educated elite should seek help from the world powers. This is the only path that leads to salvation from the dark domination of the army. Zulfikar Mirza’s populist anti-American rant has all the trappings of that same ole pro-military rhetoric.
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  • Ali
    Aug 31, 2011 - 2:04AM

    What really makes me laugh is claims by our esteemed president is that the politicians are needed in order to provide a vision that technocrats can not deliver.
    All we have had from our politicians is hunger, death, inflation,illiteracy and the list goes on.
    Our judicial system is dysfunctional. Why not fix the revolving door for terrorists that masquerade as courts.

    People can die, corrupt liars that are the PPP run smoke but the chief justice is only concerned about his own power base.

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  • Salman Oranigwala
    Aug 31, 2011 - 10:33AM

    @White Russian , lets keep our fingers crossed that the Apex Court will be neutral and won’t treat Karachi and its legal represntatives in the same manner that Brits treated the Leinz Cossacks of Russia post second world war !!!!

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  • Not impressed
    Aug 31, 2011 - 11:23AM

    @cautious….I agree with you completely since Karachiites have been voting on linguistic basis for too long….We have to bring some rationality into our voting decisions…firstly the educated class should vote and those who have been voting should not vote in favour of either of these 3 parties in coming elections…Go for PTI….ATLEAST GIVE THEM A CHANCE….ethnic fault lines of Karachi have literally ruined our city of lights….These 3 parties are responsible for killing thousands of innocent Karachiites and giving them daily mental torture in the form of mafias and bhatta khori…..vote them out….

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  • Truth lives
    Aug 31, 2011 - 2:26PM

    Okay if you do not want the Army, than what about those innocent people dying, tortured and kidnapped daily? Is it worth to let this happen to humanity?? This cruel and ironical democracy (in name only) has NOT served the interest of the common public but given a blood bath to the city . . . . .if people do not want this democracy, then in spirit, it is not considered “for the people, of the people and by the people” . . .on the contrary it is only for the politicians . . . . .And to let this blood bath, torture and kidnappings go on for so long has all the hallmarks of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity under a government that should be held accountable in the court of law. This is a very dark chapter in history that is being written and will be remembered for generations to come!

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  • Not impressed
    Aug 31, 2011 - 6:11PM

    The politicians have been running the country as if they dont care whether we elect them again or not….but we are such a nation who will elect them again to rule upon us….our coming generations will not forgive us for the Pakistan they will inherit from us…We inherited a far better Pakistan…unfortunately we are hell bent on ruining it with our own hands

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  • Salman Oranigwala
    Sep 1, 2011 - 2:07AM

    @Not impressed:
    did I hear someone just metiioned Imran the biased Khan here ?

    Gimme a break ! The guy didnot even bother to visit Karachi during the last two months mass killings and to utter a few words of solace .

    He was just trying to gain poltical mileage on “bayans ” on TV.

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