Accountability: Full SHC bench to hear May 12 case after Eidul Fitr vacations

Right’s group petition will be heard by five judges.

Express August 27, 2011


The hearing of May 12, 2007 mayhem case would begin after Eidul-Fitr vacations, ordered a division bench of the High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Imam Bux Baloch here on Thursday.

The petition filed by Syed Muhammad Iqbal Kazmi of the Human Rights Commission for South Asia, not to be confused with the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, came up for hearing last week.

Kazmi appeared in person and submitted that previously the petition was being heard by a seven-member bench but suddenly the then president, General Pervez Musharraf, sacked the judges of the superior judiciary.

The then CJ of the SHC (Muhammad Afzal Soomro) then dismissed the petitions as withdrawn and Kazmi did not apply to withdraw his.

Kazmi contended that now a full bench of at least five judges could hear the petition. However, the bench, without any order to constitute a larger bench, put off the hearing, directing the office of the court to fix the matter after the Eidul Fitr vacations.

More than 50 people were killed and scores others were injured in one of the bloodiest days in Karachi’s history on May 12, 2007, the day the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry arrived in Karachi to attend the silver jubilee celebrations of the Sindh High Court Bar Association.

The miscreants, who belonged to one ethnic party, surrounded the premises of the SHC, city courts. Later, in pitched street battles between different groups, dozens of people lost their lives, lawyers and judges coming to the courts were manhandled and even women lawyers were not spared by the miscreants who were wearing identical caps, shirts and jeans and were riding in white cars filled with arms and ammunition.

The inaction of the police and other authorities led to suo motu notice and petitions by citizens and the bar associations but the hearing was disrupted several times.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.