Five years have passed since Karachi’s bloodiest day but not a soul has been convicted.
A key lawyer, Anwar Mansoor Khan, the president of the Sindh High Court Bar Association, believes, however, that something can still be done.
“The identification, arrest, trial and conviction if charges are proven against an individual is almost impossible because of a lack of evidence,” he told The Express Tribune. “But the courts can still examine the television footage.” This material was submitted to a full bench that was hearing the May 12 petitions. There are photographs as well.
“A decision could be delivered to prevent a similar incident from taking place in future,” he said. The superior courts shall re-open the May 12 cases and decide them on merit in the larger national interest, he added.
About 50 people were killed and hundreds were injured that day. The city’s streets were blocked with shipping containers and Karachi was taken over with young men accessorised with guns and a sense of iron-clad immunity. They rode around in cars belly-full with ammo.
Rallies were stopped from heading to the Karachi airport where the suspended chief justice had arrived. He waited for hours to be given clearance to travel to the Sindh High Court where he was scheduled to attend the golden jubilee celebrations of the bar association. The programme was postponed and he was flown back as the police said they were unable to ensure safe passage.
The Sindh High Court took notice on its own of the violence as its judges were manhandled and prevented from entering the court’s premises. A number of petitions were filed by the bar association and a local social worker. They are awaiting adjudication.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2012.