PCO judges justified siege of the city

One petition still pending with high court.

Zeeshan Mujahid May 12, 2012


Most of the cases filed on the mayhem of May 12, 2007, have died their ‘un-natural death’ while one or two are still pending adjudication.

A five-member bench of PCO judges, while disposing of petitions relating to May 12, had in its judgment on February 4, 2008, held that a siege laid on May 12, 2007 on the city roads and the blockade of the exit and entry points of the Sindh High Court building  was well justified.

Disposing of the cases, the bench comprising then chief justice Muhammad Afzal Soomro, justices Nadeem Azhar Siddiqui, Munib Ahmed Khan, Abdul Rahman Faruq Pirzada and Rana M Shamim declared that, “In our view this is not a fit case where the court should extend interference.”

The case was based on a suo motu action taken by the then Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and constitutional petitions filed by the Sindh High Court and Karachi bar associations.

Another petition filed by a social worker, Syed Iqbal Kazmi, was disposed of as withdrawn after his wife was beaten and he was threatened while inside prison after his arrest on charges of alleged fraud with common citizens.

The SHC benches held 19 hearings of suo motu cases and petitions by bar associations before they were disposed of on February 4, 2008 by the PCO judges. The first hearing was held on May 28, 2007, 16 days after the incident.

The petition filed by Kazmi was heard on May 29, 2007, for the first time and for thirteen times till it was disposed of as “withdrawn” by the petitioner under immense pressure. This petition was, however, restored on January 19, 2009 and to date 27 hearings have been held.

The then advocate general of Sindh, Farogh Naseem, opposed the petitions of bar associations and suo motu action. He had maintained that “state functionaries under the constitution are well within their powers to deny access to roads and premises by way blockades/barricades with the view to avert a bigger threat.”

In their order, the PCO judges too admitted that, “Some parts of the city of Karachi, in particular, the roads/entrances leading to the high court building, were hindered and barricaded,” but they agreed with the contention made by Farogh Naseem and justified these actions while disposing of the petitions.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.


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