Pakistan SC gets tough on Karachi violence, takes suo moto cognizance: While the talk of 'judicial overreach' reverberated in Indian Parliament, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo moto cognizance of rising crime in Karachi and directed the Inspector General of Police Wajid Ali Durrani to take appropriate action against the criminals to bring the worsening situation under control. Not only that, the Supreme Court also asked Mr.Durrani to include in his team competent officers including those who had been removed for 'political reasons'.
In other words, the Supreme Court stepped in to support the rejection of 'political dismissals' of the police officers, which might sound like it was trying to 'usurp' the power and functions of the Executive. The Supreme Court was also unambiguous in making it clear to the police chief that if he failed to perform his duty towards the law of the land, he too might have to face the consequences.
IGP Durrani told the Court that the killings and the violence were taking place due to personal enmity arising out of ethnic divide.
However, Advocate Iftikhar Gillani, former federal law minister and counsel for the Awami National Party, rejected the claims made by the IGP and said that there was no ethnic conflict in progress in the city, and it was innocent people who were being slain for no reason.
According to Mr. Gillani it was drugs, land and extortion mafias that were responsible for the senseless target killings. He also said that carnage in Karachi carried out on May 12, 2007, could not be overlooked or forgotten, nor could the recent spurt in target killings be ignored.
He told the Court that under Article 147 of the Constitution, army could be called in to maintain law and order in Karachi if things worsened and the police and the civil administration found it too difficult to bring things back in control. Nevertheless, he asserted that the civil administration was perfectly capable of dealing with the situation, but lacked the will.
Taking suo moto cognizance of the worsening situation of law and order in Karachi , Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry constituted a special 5-judge Bench comprising himself together with Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, Justice Amir Hani Muslim and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, and after having gone through the material available to him, ordered thus:
"I have gone through above noted facts, reported in the print/flashed in the electronic media, perusal whereof presents a bleak/dismal picture of bloodshed, arson, kidnapping/abduction for ransom, widespread violence, illegal collection of money (Bhatta) from traders, which prima facie are violative of Articles 9, 14, 15, 18 and 24 of the Constitution. Prima facie , the Executive has failed to protect the life, liberty, dignity, property and freedom of the general public, as it is manifested in the above note/reports. Therefore, let this note be converted into petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution."
Pak SC Bar Conference for fearless Bar, free Media and an independent Judiciary: At the concluding session of the three-day International conference, convened by Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, titled 'Justice for all, impunity for none', and attended by the delegates from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Fiji, Malaysia, UK and Afghanistan, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, opined that when the judges were doing all that they could to speed up the process of delivering justice, lawyers must also put in more hours. "The judiciary serves as an essential check on the other organs of State and ensures that any laws and measures adopted to address the crisis, comply with the rule of law, human rights and where applicable international laws," he said.
During the conference it was recommended that the judiciary must act from sound reasoning and uphold rule of law at all times while the media, on its part, must exercise restraint and not present judiciary as a cure for all ills. However, all speakers were of the opinion that the Press must not be subjected to any limitations and the only check should be self-censorship.
It was also asserted that the Judiciary must guard against gender bias and the judgments must be in line with the rule of law, human rights and international laws, wherever applicable.
The conference concluded that the judiciary, independent and fearless bar and free media could be the backbone of a vibrant society opposed to all kinds of impunities.
Pravin H. Parekh, President, Indian Supreme Court Bar Association, after praising the warm hospitality of the Pakistanis, said the 'nonsense' between the governments must be jettisoned and, Indo-Pak relations must be strengthened on all fronts including economic, intellectual and cultural. Mr. Parekh also announced March 23, 2012 as the date for the next Conference to be held in New Delhi .