|Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar M. Chaudhary|
KARACHI – A five-member bench of the Supreme Court on Monday directed the attorney general to present today the latest intelligence reports of Inter-services Intelligence Agency (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) on Karachi situation. In an unprecedented sitting in Karachi, the apex court’s five-member bench hearing a suo moto case on Karachi unrest expressed its dissatisfaction over the submitted report, containing information gathered by Special Branch, FIA and IB. It warned that the situation in Karachi was in danger of spinning ‘out of hand’ as the Sindh Police chief admitted that many areas of the city have become ‘no-go zones’ with the death toll mounting to 306 in a month of gang wars and mayhem.
The bench is being headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprises Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani, Justice Amir Muslim Hani and Justice Ghulam Rabbani. The bench pulled up the authorities for lacking vision and analysis that were needed to make headway to check spiralling violence. The court wanted names of people employing vicious armed gangs who are waging a savage battle for supremacy in the Pakistan’s commercial hub Karachi. Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Maulvi Anwarul Haq appeared before the court wherein he submitted the report containing intelligence gathered by Special Branch, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) regarding the violence in the city; however, the court expressed dissatisfaction with the report, saying it lacked facts that were needed to make headway in the case.
The chief justice remarked the presented report contained nothing new and directed the authorities to table such report as could lead to some result. He directed for submission of reports by Inter-services Intelligence Agency (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI). The AGP requested the court not to disclose some important parts of the report of the secret agencies, and it should not be made part of court record. The court said a decision to keep the report classified will be taken after it has been reviewed. It also remarked that since most part of the report is based on newspaper reports, keeping it confidential was of no use. Sindh Inspector General Police (IGP) Wajid Ali Durrani also submitted the details before the court showing that a total of 306 people have been killed in Karachi between July 24 and August 24 this year. He said 232 cases have been registered in 75 police stations during one month. The IGP asserted that despite the ongoing carnage, the situation is within the control of law-enforcement agencies.
The CJP queried how many people had been arrested so far and why the people responsible for Karachi violence were not being identified. The police chief replied that the police arrested 20 suspects but most of them were released as the complainants were scared to appear before the court to record their statements against the suspects. The court directed the IGP to present a comprehensive report on the Karachi killings. The court sought the names of police officers who were killed in the line of duty and also those of the arrested target killers, but Durrani failed to answer these questions. IGP Durrani admitted before the Supreme Court that law enforcement agencies cannot enter some violence-hit areas of Karachi. The IGP also blatantly lied and told the court that ethnic and sectarian tensions are the main reasons for the unrest in Karachi. He said there are several ethnic groups in more than 100 areas of Karachi. He said that extortionists and land grabbers are also adding fuel to fire of violence in the city, but he never gave a non-political statement about the on-ground reality in Karachi.
The Chief Justice told Durrani that Karachi is ‘in a terrible situation’ and that ‘the city will be out of his hands’ if he does not curb the violence immediately. To this, Durrani responded that he needed one more month to improve security in the city. The chief justice asked Durrani to give him the number of police officials in Karachi and also the number of police officials designated to VVIPs duties. Durrani responded that out of 32,000 police officials, only 20,000 are operational. He said that 12,000 are non-operational out of which 4,000 are protecting SIU and CPO officials and 8,000 are on VVIP duties. When the chief justice asked him to explain why the VIPs required so much security, the IGP said the VIPs claim their life is under threat and that they need security. Senator Babar Awan was present during the court proceedings. Senior PPP leader Taj Haider was also present, but was not summoned by the court. Sindh government’s counsel Abdul Hafeez Pirzada is defending the police and answered all the questions that the IGP failed to answer. The Supreme Court had earlier rejected a report presented by the advocate general Sindh for its failure to identify the groups involved in target killings, abduction and extortion in Karachi.
Meanwhile, Jamat-e-Ismali leader and former MPA Abdul Waheed Qureshi filed an application requesting to be a party in the case. Such applications were also filed by the anti-Pakistan separatist Awami National Party leader Bashir Khan, Sindh High Court Bar Association President Anwar Mansoor Khan and Karachi Bar Association President Muhammad Aqil and Hyder Imam Rizvi and some other local political leaders. Earlier, Muttahida Quami Movement had also filed an application requesting to become a party. In view of the sensitivity of the case, high security arrangements were made, involving deployment of 600 police and Rangers personnel at the Supreme Court’s branch registry in Karachi.
( The Nation )
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( The Nation )
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