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May 12th riots: Sindh High Court orders inquiry into massacre via JIT


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The Sindh High Court has ordered the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the terror attacks of May 12th, 2007. The two-member bench comprising of Justice Iqbal Kalhoro and Justice Agha of Sindh High Court gave a verdict on May 12, 2017, and ordered Judicial Tribunal to investigate. The court directed the Sindh Government to submit a report in progress by two days, while the court also ordered to reopen 65 cases that were eliminated under the A-Class. The two-member bench has also requested the Chief Justice Sindh High Court to appoint a judge to monitor the case.

The court has asked Sindh government to submit the report regarding compensation paid to the victims of the clashes. It is noteworthy that Chief Justice Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had ordered the High Court to file a case in three months on May 12, 2018, for which the court had already secured a decision after hearing the arguments of the advocates including the party’s advocate.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement was largely blamed for the killings and became notorious for its violence. It was at that time that the current Prime Minister Imran Khan started a bitter struggle against the MQM supremo Altaf Hussain.

During the hearing of the case, the applicant Iqbal Kazmi sought to make a judicial commission to investigate the violence which was also supported by the federal and judicial assistants. But the Sindh government had opposed making a judicial commission. On May 12, 2007, the lawyers’ movement was at its peak and the suspended then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, during the 50th anniversary of the Sindh High Court, had come to Karachi on the occasion. His arrival was met by coordinated violence and gunfire.

On the arrival of Chief Justice of Karachi, the workers of opposition parties came out for his welcome, and in several places, there were armed clashes between the government and opposition parties of that time. Sophisticated weapons were used on several highways of the city throughout the day and 48 people including lawyers were killed in the broad daylight. In these incidents, more than 130 people were injured while dozens of vehicles and property were also burnt, after which 7 cases were registered for the killing of those people in different cities.

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Almost 20 months ago, police submitted seven cases to anti-terrorism courts, in which the then advisor to the interior and present Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar, Member Sindh Assembly, Kamran Farooq, and more than 55 accused were nominated. All the accused have been on bail and the accused could not have been indicted on charges despite the passing of 20 months in cases.

The 12th May violence was seen as the black swan event that heralded the rise of the Political militant wings in Pakistan’s largest metropolis. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement was largely blamed for the killings and became notorious for its violence. It was at that time that the current Prime Minister Imran Khan started a bitter struggle against the MQM supremo Altaf Hussain.

They also indirectly ended MQM’s hold over the city and at the same time Altaf Hussain’s hold over the MQM. With the splintering of the MQM into different groups, Karachiites began to exercise their power to vote freely and elected the PTI to power.

While the political militant wing of the MQM was already known since the 1990s, May 12th made way for the exposure of similar wings of the PPP, ANP, Jamaat-e-Islami and the Sunni Tehreek. These militants drowned the city in blood as they fought against each other over territory and votes. Under their brutal reign of terror, Karachi was known as the “Bride of cities” turned into the “World’s most dangerous City”.

It was against this reign of terror that a coordinated cleanup operation was launched by the Sindh Rangers. The Rangers have conducted 5,795 raids since September 05, 2013 and arrested 10,353 accused. Those arrested include 826 terrorists, 334 target killers, and 296 extortionists. During this time period, 364 terrorists were also killed in the exchange of fire with Rangers. The paramilitary force seized 7,312 weapons and 3, 48,978 cartridges.

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The success of this operation paved the way for the cleansing of the city of the militant wings. They also indirectly ended MQM’s hold over the city and at the same time Altaf Hussain’s hold over the MQM. With the splintering of the MQM into different groups, Karachiites began to exercise their power to vote freely and elected the PTI to power.

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