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Terrorists Attack The Court And The Citizens In Orgy Of Bloodletting

28 May, 2007

By Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto


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In the history of our country, May 12, 2007 will go down as one of the darkest days. On the terrible day, peaceful protestors exercising their constitutional right to freedom of movement were proceeding towards the airport when suspected members of the ruling coalition known as the MQM ambushed them.

According to participants in the rally to receive Chief Justice Ifthikar Chaudhry, suspected MQM terrorists took over the road from Sharae Faisal to Malir. Regrettably, elements of the Police and Rangers reportedly providing cover to the MQM terrorists who were firing to kill and injure PPP and ANP supporters. Those supporters were besieged when four buses and trucks on Karachi's main road Shahrah e Faisal was blocked. Prepositioned terrorists on bridges and elsewhere began firing on them.

The Judiciary needs to identify the terrorist elements and those members of law enforcement who are suspected of colluding with them through a suo moto inquiry. Further to check the veracity of the allegation that this cover was being provided to the terrorists on the directives of an un-elected Advisor of the Chief Minister Sindh.

This was not the first time that a rally was disrupted. Earlier in 2005 when Senator Zardari returned to Pakistan, thousands of people were arrested, baton charged, tear gassed and railways, buses, cars etc stopped or impounded.

No one took notice then. The neglect to take notice then simply emboldened the supporters of state terrorism. Consequently much worse happened on May 12, 2007 when the dogs of death were let loose to shed the blood of innocents in Karachi. That blood now calls out to our collective conscience to demonstrate the will to stop the bedlam or risk terrorists slowly taking over different parts of our country.

It appears that instead of the writ of government providing safety and security to the citizens, different parts of the country have been parcelled out to different mafias, terrorists, thugs and hoodlums by the present regime. The tribal areas have been more or less conceded to the pro Taliban forces while the regime signs a peace treaty with them. In return they take the law into their own hands murdering those who think differently to them while law enforcement is a silent spectator.

In Tank, Bannu and Malakand different groups of terrorists have been conceded territory and intimidate the population taking the law into their own hands. The Police stand by.

Parts of the capital Islamabad has been conceded to the extremists led by the Imam of Lal Masjid. Here, hiding under the name of religion, they grab land, kidnap citizens, including policemen with impunity, patrol the streets intimidating women and threaten barbers, beauticians and those belonging to the entertainment industry while the police once again stand as bystanders.

The Pakistan Peoples Party believes the country has a right to know why the Karachi Police were largely disarmed on May 12, 2007 and on whose orders. Those brutally killed now number forty two. The Judiciary should take suo moto notice to save itself, to save innocents and to save the country. Unless the Higher Judiciary intervenes much worse will happen the next time round. Terrorists are encouraged when the state fails to act against them.

The shocking part of the episode is that even Honourable members of the Higher Judiciary were not spared. It is astonishing to hear that the Corp Commander failed to respond to a court summons on security grounds.

Given the number of men the Corp Commander has under him it is difficult to accept that the army could not have taken him securely to the High Court where the judiciary was trying to come to the assistance of the dead and the dying. The situation was reminiscent of in Dacca before the army operation of 1970 where the Mukhti Bahini took control of the streets and terrorized citizens.

Senior members of the Bar who have served justice for decades were forced to flee and take shelter. Fire was set to a part of the Bar itself. Undoubtedly the constitutional machinery of government irretrievably broke down as outlined under the Constitution.

Democratic governments were overthrow in the past on fallacious grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the constitutional machinery. However, the grounds now are real for the machinery of government collapsed on May 12, 2007. The Inspector General Police is reported to have told the Judiciary that he was "helpless" to stop the bloodshed and mayhem, which apparently had political cover and collusion.

This raises the very serious spectre of whether the country can afford a government that colludes in murder attempts and refuses to file criminal cases by those who are murdered or victims of murder attempts. Unfortunately this is what is happening with the entire government protecting criminal elements not just on the massive scale of May 12, 2007 but in several incidents even earlier. This proves that unless someone acts there is no one to stop the growing anarchy over which the present regime presides. The only institution that offers some hope while others around collapse is the judiciary. It is therefore the hope of the Nation that the judiciary will act to intervene and save the Nation from terrorism and dictatorship.

Therefore the Pakistan Peoples Party asks the Judiciary to come to the aid of the citizens in accordance with the Constitution and take suo moto notice of the events of May 12, 2007. The least that can be done to restore public confidence following the irretrievable breakdown of the constitutional machinery is to hold a suo moto inquiry into those who colluded or conspired in the murder and arson that stained the streets of Karachi scarlet on one of the blackest days of Pakistan's history.

End.

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