Judicial intervention: SC takes suo motu notice of Karachi violence

Published: August 22, 2011
Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has taken a suo motu notice of the ongoing violence in Karachi, Express 24/7 reported on Monday. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has taken a suo motu notice of the ongoing violence in Karachi, Express 24/7 reported on Monday. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE


With political forces struggling to contain outbreaks of extreme violence in the country’s largest city, the Supreme Court stepped in on Monday – taking suo motu notice of the continuous bloodshed over the last three months.

The court has directed all television channels to submit related video footage within 24 hours.

A statement issued by the court’s human rights cell said that notices have been issued to all channels. The cell will review the footage and then forward the matter to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for further orders.

The suo motu follows an appeal by religious scholar Dr Tahirul Qadri, who wrote a letter to a local newspaper urging the court to intervene as the federal and Sindh governments have failed to control the situation.

Meanwhile, in a first instance of a petition calling for the armed forces to protect civilians, Advocate Tariq Asad has petitioned the court to direct the federal government to proclaim an emergency and call in the armed forces to assist civil authorities to protect the lives and liberties of Karachi’s citizens as guaranteed in the Constitution.

Prime Minister Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, interior secretary, Sindh chief secretary and Sindh home secretary are named as respondents in the petition.

The petitioner has also asked the court to order Malik to disclose the ‘third force’ responsible for target killings in Karachi and resign if he can’t tackle that force.

Asad says that all political parties have demanded that the armed forces be asked to control the situation in Karachi and even the army chief has offered assistance. Therefore, respondents should be directed to submit a comprehensive report before the court, saying how many people have been killed and who is responsible for the killings.

(Read: Calling in the army is no solution)

Separately, a senior Supreme Court advocate Hashmat Habib has requested the chief justice to constitute a high-level judicial commission to investigate the Karachi killings.

The commission, he proposes, should comprise two senior Supreme Court judges and the chief justices of all high courts. Habib says that Karachi’s situation is ‘tailor-made’ merely to get American aid by bringing the army into action but those who are inviting the army should remember that once they come out of their barracks, it will be difficult to send them back.

Therefore, political pressure should be exerted on local police, who should be empowered to control the situation.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.

Related Videos

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (56)

  • H.A. Khan
    Aug 22, 2011 - 1:16PM

    Thank you Chief Justice Pakistan and Supreme Court.We have full faith in Supreme Court Pakistan that justice will be done
    Please order strict steps to stop this senseless killing in Karachi. There is fear in people. Life and property safety please ensure.


  • Adil Mirza
    Aug 22, 2011 - 1:17PM

    Finally !! Alhumdulilah


  • Gul Khan
    Aug 22, 2011 - 1:40PM

    Long Live Pakistan! Long Live CJP.


  • Pro Pakistani
    Aug 22, 2011 - 1:54PM

    Only can achieve through “INSAAF SAB KE LIYE


  • Kashif
    Aug 22, 2011 - 1:56PM

    After 100s dead, everyone is hoping that somone in this country can restore peace. We don’t care who it is but we just want peace and no more body bags.


  • Maher
    Aug 22, 2011 - 2:18PM

    Suo motu action after 80 people died in Khi….Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Aug 22, 2011 - 2:25PM

    And this will have WHAT effect ?


  • Qasim
    Aug 22, 2011 - 2:29PM

    World has been reporting/commenting on the mayhem and carnage but surprisingly our own beloeved CJP only became aware of the killings now after hundreds lost their own lives or their loved ones and billions in economic damage??


  • Aug 22, 2011 - 2:31PM

    Where is our Anna Hazare?


  • Karachi
    Aug 22, 2011 - 2:35PM

    @Umayr Masud:
    nothing people will get happy and will be fearless for a month or so and then again samething gonna repeat.. Drama hai sub!


  • Arifq
    Aug 22, 2011 - 2:39PM

    Suo motto on a single letter! Three cheers to the honorable CJP for being an avid reader of letters to the editor. After more than one thousand people killed over a period of six months we in Karachi had developed our doubts, now we can finally feel safe knowing our chief justice reads letters to the editor.


  • parvez
    Aug 22, 2011 - 2:49PM

    The court must be careful. Not too long ago they interfered and gave a ruling on sugar pricesRecommend

  • S Khan
    Aug 22, 2011 - 2:54PM

    A mere eye wash like rest of others, Target killers are invisible & unknown till now despite honourable Mr Rehman Malik & co saying on record he know who are the target killers still we donot know who are our enemy.


  • sadia mustafa
    Aug 22, 2011 - 3:29PM

    thanks 2 Allah dat finally sum thin gud seems 2 b hapnd inshallah.hope dat CJP vl take an action v sn 2 overcum such a burring situation.datz v gud dat CJP tuk an action jus by a letter ov magzn.


  • sadia mustafa
    Aug 22, 2011 - 3:38PM

    may Allah help us n shw awl ov us d ryt path.ameen


  • grinz09
    Aug 22, 2011 - 3:51PM

    and not long ago suo moto for a lady allegdly carrying 2 bottles of alcohol!!!!!!!


  • Waqar Bukhari
    Aug 22, 2011 - 4:08PM

    I came across a GRAPHIC mobile phone video, which I belive can easily be found on youtube…It showed mutilation of the bodies of the people murdered in Karachi. The murderers were jumping on the corpse and abusing the dead bodies…in another video the victims were being subject to sexual abuse…from the looks, dialect and speaking manner the murderers looked like from the gang war affected area or Karachi. With this video evidence, why isnt the media speaking up? I have lost all hope in the govt .
    I just dont know when will we wake up…..Recommend

  • Salb Ali
    Aug 22, 2011 - 4:09PM

    Oh my poor fellows

    Nothing is going to happen, no one is sincere with the country, I just pray and ONLY God can help us, lets pray and hope that things should improve for our country and we should get rid off all these greedy politicians and so called chief justices .

    May Allah bless my country


  • JJ
    Aug 22, 2011 - 4:11PM

    Chief Justice of Pakistan we want you take ACTION soon becoz our leaders stop PAK ARMY to come now you are the one who help karachi people.We are waiting for your action.


  • Aug 22, 2011 - 4:19PM

    we dont need annas here

    Dear CJ, please put a ban on politics in karachi and announce elections without party basis.Recommend

  • NAGB
    Aug 22, 2011 - 4:41PM

    If CJP had taken action at the begining , the so called “jamhuriat wale” would say he is interfering in matters which are gov duty. CJP did the very right thing by first letting the Jamhuri people ( so called) do whatever they can and when it was proved the gov has no intention to, he tool this step.

    So CJP bashers, dont act absurdRecommend

  • abbas
    Aug 22, 2011 - 4:53PM

    Chief Justice needs reminders through news paper on this critical topic. Come on u all accept it, neither chief justice nor any civil set up can bring peace to Karachi. Only solution is an army operation like Swat. Capture and Kill these miscreants in front on every one. 10 such pple killed publically and every thng will be fine in this city. Recommend

  • grinz09
    Aug 22, 2011 - 5:21PM

    @Lahori Munda:
    A very racist comment.


  • Nabeela Yousaf
    Aug 22, 2011 - 5:40PM

    Karachi, which is the economic hub of Pakistan, has witnessed turmoil from both internal and external factors. Many insane voices are demanding military operation, without calculating the collateral damage and heat that could haunt civilian life in the metropolitan. One should not forget the military operation conducted in 90,s that completely paralyzed social life of city and life could not return to normal of long time after operation. Thus, such demands are not only irrational but out of question. The role of military is to safe guard the territorial integrity from external threats and not to interfere in internal issues of executive. Government is hundred thousand times better well wisher than those demanding one action or the other in Karachi. Such demands are just point scoring tactics and nothing to do with real situation of Karachi. Similarly most of the political parties and civil society is weighing upon de-weaponization of Karachi, which is also not an easy task. Historically speaking, the Zia era, disintegration of the USSR, wars with India, and the ‘war on terror’ gave birth to non-state actors, religious militancy, Talibanisation and obscurantism in our society. This phenomenon has taken the lives of many innocent people. According to analysts, de- weaponization is the most difficult process, nearly impossible to be implemented. They believe that it is the most complex issue. They are of the view that Pakistan is surrounded by nuclear rivals. It can’t concentrate if infiltration takes place from its eastern as well as from its western borders. There are several options on the cards and Government is hardly working to normalize the situation in Karachi. It is democratic Government and a democratic Government always resolves issues through democratic manner not in haste or autocratic style. One should trust in Government that soon situation in Karachi would be under control and rounding up of several criminals, murderers and extortionists gives clear message that Government is not offering just a lip service but practically working to bring Karachi back to life.


  • Haider
    Aug 22, 2011 - 5:41PM

    what on earth can you do Mr. CJ? Suo Motu taken whats next? Police chiefs will be changed, Army personnel won’t appear in court, PM will announce to bring a resolution on supermacy of parliament and file will close!!!
    Anyway something to cheer!


  • khurram ahmed
    Aug 22, 2011 - 6:10PM

    CJP, Its the time to hang the culprits in public.Recommend

  • Danyal Kaimkhani
    Aug 22, 2011 - 6:26PM

    It took Respectable Chief Justice 1500 deaths of innocent Karachiites to realise he should take suo moto notice.Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Aug 22, 2011 - 6:42PM

    The only different thing CJ can do is that he hands over Karachi to Army. Other than that he can do nothing because all other plans have aleady been failed. Using Army without military courts will be a useless exercise. Army should not accept call without military courts and lawyers are going to accept army deployment supported by military courts. Army without military courts is another police force, perhaps more corrupt and dangerous.


  • syed hasan atizaz
    Aug 22, 2011 - 6:44PM

    will make no change


  • whatajoke
    Aug 22, 2011 - 7:01PM

    Completely agree with NAGB. It is not the responsibility of the supreme court to instill law and order in a city. It is the responsibility of the govt who have failed miserably. Although I think the govt and its allies will be up to their usual tricks and won’t let justice prevail.


  • Ben
    Aug 22, 2011 - 7:23PM

    This will surely unveil the ugly forces


  • Cautious
    Aug 22, 2011 - 7:25PM

    So what’s he going to actually do? In case you forgot – harsh language and court orders don’t sway bad guys. Ultimately you need to have people with guns willing to risk their lives to take on these bad guys – politicians and judges do nothing but make speeches/pronouncements.


  • Wasim
    Aug 22, 2011 - 7:28PM

    How amezing that suo motu action is required to remind government its duties. It seems that this government is not accountable to any body, is this really a democratic government??? or we the citizens of Pakistan are being making fool that Pakistan has political system and government.


  • Saddened dr
    Aug 22, 2011 - 7:53PM

    It was about time…taking notice after more than 80 people got brutally killed!wow!what a quick response :)


  • Aug 22, 2011 - 7:58PM

    Its never too late CJP


  • Pakistani
    Aug 22, 2011 - 8:08PM

    Now new Game will start; CJP will appoint an IG, Govt. will remove, Govt. appoint a SSP, CJP will remove… and so on.


  • furqan
    Aug 22, 2011 - 8:15PM

    Unfortunately our government as well as our judiciary system is not pro-active.
    Actions require request/plead in order to make it a case. you can say our system needs pre-requisites to make it an issue and afterwards it converts to a human right issue.

    Still its a very good belated step..
    My prayers are that this Human rights issue will become so big that the political parties in karachi will be banned for life!!!Recommend

  • Well Wisher
    Aug 22, 2011 - 8:36PM

    Really? We need to ask Chief Justice to take step now? After 1000+ deaths? Maybe Chief Justice is not aware of the violence. Get a TV and cable and do yourself a favor!


  • sarang
    Aug 22, 2011 - 8:54PM

    Salute to Chief Justice of Pakistan. I think there will be no any immediate relief to people by suo moto action but if the honable cjp is sincere and he is successful in disclosing the hand behind these anti-state people upto route level the facts can be fruitful for longtime planning. the main issue for honable CJP is not to stop further killing, but to disclose hands behind these anti state factors dominate karachi. Sarang hyderabad Pakistan


  • Syed Sami
    Aug 22, 2011 - 10:24PM

    Good morning to you Mr. CJP!


  • Salman
    Aug 22, 2011 - 10:28PM

    Did CJP bring sugar prices down? No, because sugar mills belong to Sharif sugar mafia. And what happened to NRO case? After so much hue and cry NRO has also been dumped.

    We miss Musharraf – the true leader.


  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Aug 22, 2011 - 11:18PM

    CJP will now order to appoint CM and some fresh appointments of his own choice. Government will refuse and so a new game of attrition will start and thus the government will complete its period in this rat race and so will Chief sahib’s term will also end as CJP.


  • rehmat
    Aug 22, 2011 - 11:56PM

    @Saddened dr:
    “It was about time…taking notice after more than 80 people got brutally killed!wow!what a quick response :)”

    The government not judiciary is accountable for maintaining law and order. Only if the government fails in its task, can judiciary take notice. Judiciary has to give government ample time to respond before it gets involved otherwise it would be overstepping on executive function.
    In light of this, what the CJ has done is correct.


  • rehmat
    Aug 22, 2011 - 11:59PM

    “Unfortunately our government as well as our judiciary system is not pro-active.”. Please check the role of judiciary in your civics books. It is not supposed to be pro-active. Rather it si only supposed to decide the cases that come before it either as original jurisdiction or as an appeal.

    In fact any su moto notice is proactive work since it is not in response to a public interest litigation. IT could be argued by that definition that the judiciary is TOO proactive. In other countries it is really rare for CJ to take suo moto notice, unlike Pakistan.


  • Dee
    Aug 23, 2011 - 12:21AM

    now what? while they review the situation death toll will further increase.


  • Kaspar
    Aug 23, 2011 - 12:37AM

    The CJ is a good and honorable man in these days of qaht ar rajjal.
    The current ruling parties in Sindh and Centre are so incompetent and corrupt that they simply are not interested in stopping the killings. Their eyes are simply on their self and party interests, and on the next elections.
    But they are short sighted and foolish. They don’t know that the very activities in which they are indulging to ‘ensure’ their success in the next elections, have the potential to send them packing before the completion of their term and get the elections postponed indefinitely.
    They suffer from the erroneous notion that irrespective of performance in office, they can do what they want because they are ‘elected representatives.’ .They seem to be living in fools’ paradise.
    The PPP led by Zardari should b awarded the ‘dunce cap’ for its glorious performance in office! Their policy of ‘mafahimat; is actually a policy of ‘munafiqat.’ Judging from the arguments their minions and Ministers give on TV shows they lack even the political sense possessed by the man in the street! Moral fiber is simply conspicuous by its absence.
    The sooner they depart the better it would be for the country.
    If their inaction continues, and the people’s attitude remains what it is, there would be anarchy. The only hope then would be for the people to get united, become bold and face the criminal party gangs squarely using their own tactics!


  • salute007
    Aug 23, 2011 - 2:53AM

    The CJP has been forced to take notice. But courts all over the world can not be effective in such situations. We forget the past. Zia ul Haq created MQM so as to get rid of the influence of other political parties. Since then MQM has controlled Karachi as if it was not part of Pakistan. There have been Army operations which did not suceed. No one except General Babur could free the city from no go areas. This is a complex political issue. The internal migration from KP and Baluchistan in the last nine years has disturbed the control of MQM. Who had killed 50 innocent citizens on 12th May 2007? The blood bath in Karachi is unfortunate but the solution is neither to involve the judiciary nor the Army.


  • ILUVZardari
    Aug 23, 2011 - 2:58AM

    Zardari ko na khappey. If Zardari Khappay Pakistan ko na Khappey only Z. Mirza Khappay. CJP take action against Mr. Z the root cause of all evil.


  • Jameel
    Aug 23, 2011 - 3:15AM

    CJ is another Aamir Liaqat. Ratings is the game.


  • Gul
    Aug 23, 2011 - 5:28AM

    CJ you have so far failed to take up the 12 May and 9 April killings in Karachi, what are you going to do now? May be some more hindrances and overlapping into other institutions domain. Terrorists operating in Karachi are very well aware of ”independent judiciary’s” timidness. May be the judiciary is worst hostage to fascist criminals than police or journalists are.


  • basharat
    Aug 23, 2011 - 7:08AM

    It would have been proper and timely action, if the CJP had taken suo moto notice when Punjab
    law minister was carrying on election campaign with leaders of a banned terrorist outfit, flying
    flags of the banned organisation, he should have taken notice as to why, hefty amount has been allocated in the Punjab budget. for payment to the banned terrorist organisation, also notice should have been taken when an accused of many dozens of murder cases, after his release on bail was provided police guards for his security. Complainants and many witnesses in cases against him had been killed in mysterious circumstance. The government is not subservient to the Supreme Court, it is accountable to the Parliament and the people of Pakistan.


  • Aug 23, 2011 - 9:49AM

    So a court is announcing interest in a situation that has been beyond illegal from the very beginning at death #1. Don’t pat yourselves on the back too hard.


  • grinz09
    Aug 23, 2011 - 11:30AM

    @salute007: @Gul
    How about notice on 27th Dec 2007 and days thereafter when hundreds were killed all over the country, thousands of cars, trucks buses were destroyed, properties and industries worth billions were set ablaze etc etc. Its amazing how people like you are silent on this matter. WHY??


  • grinz09
    Aug 24, 2011 - 3:43PM

    @Nabeela Yousaf:

    strong text “She said that earlier on political groups were collecting extortion but in recent times the Peoples Amn Committee of the Pakistan Peoples Party had transformed in to a ‘Bhatta Committee’ to collect extortion money by terrorising the people of Karachi.”

    And you ask us to be fair!!!!

    Todays news is that Rangers were turned away when they went to carry out operation in Lyari! Fairness?


  • Aug 25, 2011 - 10:46AM

    What if the Supreme Court’s judgment in this case is mocked by the Government?


  • hammad ali
    Aug 29, 2011 - 1:16PM

    something is better then nothing,
    this electrol system is the main problem which give opportunity to these MNA’s who are enemy of pakistan to lead the country, nothing will be happen untill and unless people of pakistan will stand against this system and destroy this corrupt system, shaykh ul islam Dr,Muhammad Tahir ul Qadri has launched a bedari e shaoor movement for awereness.it is amazing.
    secondly he is the only person who can bring change and he will, i am not saying this on the bassis of my relationship but on the basis of reality.


More in Sindh