Three weeks after the entire Sindh government hierarchy was raked over the coals on its failure to stop the bloodshed in Karachi, the Supreme Court is set to resume its hearing from Monday (November 26) on what the authorities have done so far to curb lawlessness.
Government officials, the police and Rangers will get a second chance to redeem themselves in the implementation of Karachi violence suo motu case as the apex court is expected to pick up from where it left off at its Karachi registry on November 1.
The five-member bench will be headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali. Justices Khilji Arif Hussain, Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Amir Hani Muslim and Muhammad Ather Saeed will make up the bench.
The case stems from the suo motu proceedings initiated by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in August last year as the city went through one of its bloodiest summers.
During the lengthy hearings held in Karachi, the five judges had heard the federal and provincial governments, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, political stakeholders of the city as well as the representatives of bar associations. In the detailed judgment announced on October 6, 2011, in Islamabad, the apex court ordered several recommendations that the federal, provincial and local governments and law enforcement agencies had to implement in one year.
On October 23 this year, the Supreme Court again took up the case to evaluate how far its orders have been obeyed. The implementation case concluded on November 1 and the judges issued a five-page dossier that contained orders to implement the previous recommendations and new queries that have arisen as new problems emerged. The provincial government and law enforcers were ordered to deal with the influx of foreigners and Taliban into Karachi, arrest the suspects involved in targeted killings, arrest the under-trial prisoners released on parole, and register at least 3,000 unregistered vehicles monthly.
As the bench resumes the second round of the follow-up on November 26, notices have already been issued to the Attorney General of Pakistan, Sindh's advocate general and prosecutor general; the Election Commission secretary; the director general of National Database and Registration Authority, member of the Sindh High Court's inspection team-II, and Sindh's home secretary, chief secretary and the inspector general of police.
In view of its orders issued in the previous hearing, the Settlement Survey and Land Record Department director, the Sindh Board of Revenue's land utilisation department and the Karachi Development Authority's land department director have also been ordered to appear with their reports.
During the last session, the apex court had grilled the provincial bureaucracy and the law enforcement agencies, as the judges observed that none of their recommendations had been implemented in 13 months. Only the anti-encroachment bill was passed and special tribunals were established.
This time, it is expected that a contempt-of-court plea filed by the Awami National Party against the non-implementation of the apex court's orders in Karachi unrest case may also be taken up.
Salient recommendations announced on October 6, 2011
- Depoliticise and strengthen the police force.
- Political parties should denounce affiliation with criminal groups.
- Boundaries of administrative units such as police stations should be altered to avoid “no-go” areas and undertake delimitation of constituencies.
- Karachi has to be cleansed of weapons.
- All licensed arms genuinely required must be registered with Nadra.
- Legislate to eliminate and punish land grabbers.
- Sindh government should assess loss of lives, property and pay compensation.
- Eliminate “no-go” areas; Rangers should take action if reported.
- Across the board operation, without political interference.
- Create an independent and depoliticised investigation agency.
- Witnesses must be protected.
- Nadra, IGP to set up joint cell to identify, deal with illegal -immigrants.
- IGP shall present records of disappearance of police officers from 1992-1996 operations; were the families compensated?
- Sindh govt shall protect businesses.
- Govt should form a committee to ensure forces take action indiscriminately; meet once a month.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2012.
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