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

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

Ahmed Jung August 30, 2011

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."