May 12 mayhem: Lawyers observe black day, boycott court proceedings in Karachi

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  • MQM wants issue to be investigated rather than being content with a resolution

 

Legal fraternity on Friday resorted to complete strike and boycotted court proceedings as they observed a black day against the May 12, 2007, carnage in the port city.

One of the bloodiest days in Karachi’s history: On May 12, 2007, some 48 people were killed and a score injured and several vehicles burnt, when then-deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was scheduled to address a function at Sindh High Court.

Opposition parties had announced to accord a warm welcome to the then CJP in the city. The MQM, who at the time backed Musharraf, organised a counter-rally, leading eventually to violent clashes.

As 10 years have passed since the carnage, no one from the perpetrators was sentenced and even those arrested were set free on bail.

The lawyers across the province observed a black day against the carnage. Black flags had been hoisted atop the bar rooms and general body meetings of lawyers associations held to denounce those behind the bloodshed.

In Karachi, lawyers also observed strike by staying away from court proceedings in Sindh High Court and lower courts. Litigants were seemed facing problems due to the lawyers’ strike.

Sindh High Court Bar Association and Karachi Bar Association held separate general body meeting on the May 12 mayhem. During the meeting, resolution condemning the carnage and demanding to bring those responsible for the bloodshed to justice were passed.

It is to be mentioned here that the then deposed CJP was to address at Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) function. But he was not allowed to leave Karachi airport followed by widespread violence and arsons in the city.

A number of petitions, including a suo motu, were filed over the incident but proceedings were subsequently dropped after Musharraf declared an emergency in the country and suspended the constitution.

Sindh Assembly on Friday unanimously passed a resolution condemning the May 12 carnage, marking 10 years of the incident. Sindh Minister Nisar Khuhro during his address said that the day was the most unfortunate as at one end people were getting killed while the police were playing the role of silent spectator.

He said that the people were killed only because they were heading to the airport to welcome someone, further adding that a curfew should have been immediately imposed in view of the precarious situation in the metropolis, however, the military dictator at that time, Pervez Musharraf, called the ongoing bloodbath the display of power.

MQM-P demands investigations, not resolutions: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader on Friday demanded to form a judicial commission to investigate theMay 12, 2007 carnage. He claimed 14 of his party workers were among the dead that day.

He added they want the issue to be investigated rather than a resolution be passed.

“The series of indiscriminate fire started from Patel Para [area of Karachi],” he said, talking about the MQM rally that was under way in the area of May 12, 2007.

“There were many people, including women and children, who had dispersed during the firing, some got injured, while others were killed.”

The firing in Patel Para was probably the beginning of the May 12 bloodshed, Sabzwari maintained while speaking in the Sindh Assembly.

“It was an unfortunate day,” the MQM leader said. “The peace and politics of the city all were affected on that day, but the most harmed was the party that is the major stakeholder in the city’s politics – MQM.”