ISLAMABAD: Both the government and opposition members of the Upper House of parliament on Monday walked out of the House in protest against the killings of May 12, 2007 in Karachi.
Around 48 people were killed on that day when the former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry visited the port city. The senators of both the government and opposition benches unanimously condemned the tragic incident, and demanded a judicial inquiry into it to bring the culprits to justice. Led by Awami National Party’s Senator Shahi Syed who, while speaking on a point of order, announced a token walk-out over the incident.
Interestingly, the senators belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), who were seemingly waiting for a decision by their parliamentary leader, Col (r) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, also followed suit and joined the protesting senators when almost all the members had left the House. “What reason should we understand behind the silence of the judiciary on May 12 incidents, as those who sacrificed their lives for the independence of the judiciary are still waiting for justice despite the passage of seven years,” questioned Shahi Syed.
He called upon the government to conduct a judicial inquiry into the incident so that the culprits could be brought to justice. He said that the violence that erupted on May 12, 2007 killed 48 people, of which 22 belonged to his party. “We sacrificed our lives for the cause of the judiciary’s independence,” he said, urging that a judicial inquiry should be conducted in to the incident. The issue was first raised by PPP’s Senator Raza Rabbani who recalled that dozens of innocent people were killed on the day seven years ago “on the direction of a military dictator (Pervez Musharraf)” on the streets of Karachi.
He termed the day as a “black day” in the country’s history, but regretted that no lesson was learned from it, “as Musharraf’s “remains” are still out there to derail the democratic process, in a reference to the May 11 rallies by Imran Khan’s PTI and Pakistan Awami Threek of Tahirul Qadri. Meanwhile, the MQM protested non-issuance of Pakistani identity card and passport to the party chief, Altaf Hussain. Senator Mashhadi warned his party would close down Karachi for a year if the government does not issue the passport and ID card.
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