You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

"SHC" disposes of May 12 petitions : Five-member bench declines to ‘interfere’

Daily Times Reports:
**** Says govt has right to block roads to protect life, property
KARACHI: A five-member bench of the "Sindh High Court (SHC)" on Monday disposed of multiple petitions filed in connection with the violence on May 12 here, saying no aggrieved party had filed any cases, and it did not want to “interfere”. The bench, led by SHC Chief Justice Afzal Soomro, and comprising Justices Munib Ahmed Khan, Nadeem Azhar Siddiqui, Abdur Rahman Faruq Pirzada and Rana M Shamim, said a few individuals could materially disrupt a law and order situation. This, it said, was likely to adversely impact the economy, and cause insecurity and unrest among citizens. The bench also discussed a suo motu reference moved by the SHC registrar, which was converted into a constitutional petition. It said the preliminary objections raised by Sindh Advocate General (AG) Dr Muhammad Faroogh Naseem, questioning its maintainability had merit. The bench also discussed the argument of the respondents and the State on the blocking of roads and all exit and entry points leading to the SHC. It noted that Naseem had argued that state functionaries were well within their powers to deny access to roads and premises to avert threats to life and property. The bench also noted that 80 FIRs had been lodged and investigations were underway. The contempt-of-court applications against the Sindh home secretary, IGP, CCPO Karachi, TPO Saddar and others, were also rejected. ar qureshi
RoP Adds: The Sindh High Court was actively persuing this case before Nov 3 and ensuring that the executive remained accountable before to the courts for any gross violations of people's right and liberties. A point came when the Chief Minister of Sindh vowed that no investigation will be done ito the May 12 killings, despite abundant evidence of his government's complicity in the murder of dozens on that day. After Nov 3, a majority of the the SHC judges were sacked and only 9 loyalists were retained out of 27 judges. The dismissal of petitions regarding May 12 incidents by the newly-constituted "Sindh High Court" is condemnible and reiterates the importance of restoring the independant judges, and for upholding the rule of law.

4th Feb: SAC, Punjab College & SP's meeting

Today as a disappointing conclusion to the battle for justice between the Students Action Committee (Lahore) representatives and the Punjab College establishment, a negotiation was held at the Muslim Town police station.

Mediated by SP Mansoor Haq, the two sides had a face off with five on each panel. The victims were represented by Azhar Siddique, Punjab Bar Council Media Advisor; Firdous Butt, Vice President High court Bar; Advocate Irshad, VP Lahore Bar; Saeeda Diep and Usman Gill, the latter two involved with the earlier altercations.

Punjab College had on their panel: Principal Agha Tahir, Vice President Naveed, Prof. Jameel, Prof. Farooq (Advocate), and Prof. Rasheed. According to the SAC representatives who had been assaulted earlier, all five of the Punjab College personnel present in the panel had been present at the time of the beating and some had been physically involved in the assault itself.

Without pushing for the filing of an FIR on the behalf of the teachers and students calculatedly beaten up, the SP focused for a low key, almost negligible result of a verbal apology.

For the SAC, settling for such an trifling recourse is not a matter of few resources but the futility of pursuing the matter in courts where justice is hard to find, where justices are behind bars with the support of the present judicial system.

When District Nazims and caretaker cabinet Ministers have the might to unleash brute directives, the authenticity of the current regime and its components is obviously brought into question.

The question is, if the current judicial system was impartial or non partisan, would SAC representatives, only armed with words, have to walk away with mere apologies instead of just legal recourse?