Sunday, November 14, 2010

forex trading ARDESHIR COWASJEE ARTICLES : Mass murder we cannot forget

CHAUDHRY Aitzaz Ahsan, known fondly as the Cambridge Chaudhry, one of the aims of this appellation being to set him apart from the other mendacious and thieving Chaudhrys, cries out for the independence of the judiciary " it is what he wants and it is what we, the people, also want and for which we also cry out, and it is a cry with which neither man nor mouse nor the run of the mill political schnooks of this Republic dare disagree.

On March 6, this past week, the back page of this newspaper ran a headline which read, into quotes, "˜Forget May 12 mayhem'. The text underneath: "Karachi, March 5: Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Aitzaz Ahsan on Wednesday advised lawyers to forget the bloody incident of May 12 in which dozens of people were killed on the occasion of a visit to Karachi by deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

"Mr Ahsan, who arrived in the city on Tuesday for the first time since May 12, said this while addressing members of the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA). Mr Ahsan said the city needed peace and prosperity and must not suffer tragic incidents like that. "˜I have forgotten the May 12 mayhem and would like to request that it is better for all of us to forget that tragic incident,' he said.

"The May 12 riots erupted when Mr Ahsan, the deposed Chief Justice and other leaders of lawyers were barred by the provincial administration from coming out of the airport to attend a gathering of lawyers on the high court premises. The SCBA chief urged the leadership of the city and elders of all ethnic groups to make Karachi a peaceful city, free of ethnic violence."

He was not misquoted. Apart from having checked, there is also a banner headline carried by The Nation of the same day on the front page of its city section: "Forget May 12 mayhem, Aitzaz asks lawyers." In a much longer report on Aitzaz's visit to Karachi, he is quoted as having told the SHCBA lawyers: "I attempted to arrive in Karachi along with deposed CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry but horrible clashes occurred when some people showed their power through the bullet, but now I request the lawyers to forget that mayhem because now it is a part of history."

His address was obviously in Urdu, hence the disparity in the two translations " but both made it abundantly clear that he did say that the bloody matter of May 12 should be forgotten.

Now in all this, the best reference as to what transpired on May 12, 2007 and what transpired afterwards in the Sindh High Court, this court being somewhat of the view of the Cambridge Chaudhry (what is wrong with everyone?), is a column written by eminent lawyer Qazi Faez Isa, published in the Metropolitan section of this newspaper on this Feb 5. He tells us that "On May 12, 2007 as per figures submitted in court by the officials, 50 lay dead, 234 were injured, 110 vehicles burnt, four properties destroyed, and the offices of the AAJ TV came under sustained armed attack lasting many hours."

Then, "A seven-member bench of the SHC in Karachi was constituted to hear the May 12 case. The bench comprised Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Azizullah M Memon, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Maqbool Baqar and Justice Alisain Dino Metlo." The court appointed as amicus curiae Faez and Khalid Anwer.

The court started hearing the case. "It did so over a period of about six months. The matter was very serious and the government functionaries were very worried. The eyes of the nation were riveted on the proceedings. The city and the nation yearned for justice." And Aitzaz wants the whole bloody incident forgotten and consigned to the dustbin of history?

Notices were issued to the attorney general, to the Sindh advocate general, to various ministers, provincial and federal and the Federation and the province of Sindh were arrayed as respondents.

"By an order dated 7.9.2007 the government of Sindh was "˜directed to supply copies of the footage of the CCTV cameras which were installed around the premises of the high court by the police authorities on 12.5.07.'

"On Sept 10, 2007 the SHC, hearing the case, was compelled to adjourn the proceedings because the courtroom, corridors of the building as well as the courtyard of the high court was packed with an unruly mob, who, in the words of the seven judges "˜are perhaps bent upon creating a law and order situation'. It was also noted that "˜security arrangements are also conspicuously missing.'

"On Oct 22, 2007 the seven-member bench after hearing the matter at considerable length adjourned the case to Nov 5, 2007. On Nov 3, Gen Pervez Musharraf struck. All judges who did not take the oath of personal loyalty to him were incarcerated." Justices Osmany, Jamali, Alam, Hussain and Baqar were restrained from entering the high court.

The case was then listed for Nov 16 for hearing before five judges who had taken the fresh oath and two new ones. But the bench never assembled and the matter was not put up in court. The case was again fixed for hearing on Nov 19 before a "shrunken five-member bench, three of whom had taken the fresh oath and two new ones".

This bench handed down its "˜judgment' on Feb 4, 2008. This states that "the members of the law-enforcement and other agencies have filed their respective affidavits/counter affidavits in which they have assured that they have discharged their functions to the best of their capability, keeping in view the factual situation at hand . . . . Thus, in our view this is not a fit case where the court should extend interference."

End of matter " in the mortal words of Cambridge Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, "Forget it."

Aitzaz is certainly more balanced than the other aspirants to the thrones of power in the Republic or than many of those put in positions where they can render judgment. How can the violent killing of 50 citizens of Pakistan simply be "˜forgotten'? If Aitzaz has been misquoted, if he meant to convey otherwise, he must publish a retraction.

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