KARACHI - The Sindh High Court on Thursday appointed Justice Salahuddin Panhwar to supervise the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the May 12 carnage and also proceedings of the trial courts.

Chief Justice of Sindh High Court Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh appointed Justice Salahuddin Panhwar to monitor 64 cases through monthly progress reports from the concerned trail courts in connection with 12th May, 2007 incidents in Karachi.

On September 11, the SHC had issued direction to the Sindh government to establish a tribunal of inquiry within two weeks to probe into the May 12, 2007 violence and determine the responsibility after finding out the perpetrators and their accomplices.

A division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro and also comprising Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha had issued this order while disposing of a suo moto reference and a petition filed by Iqbal Kazmi sought retrial and reinvestigate of the May 12 carnage that claimed several lives and left wounded hundreds of people.

The Sindh government has been directed to constitute JIT as required under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 to trace out the culprits involved in the cases in which police had filed A-class (unknown or untraceable accused) reports and to further investigate all the other cases pertaining to the ugly incidents that took place on May 12, 2007.

In its prior order, the bench had ruled that initially the trial courts should give an explanation for their failure to dispose of these cases despite a passage of over 11 years and who had been responsible for such delay.

As per SHC order, the terms of reference of the tribunal/commission of inquiry will be to inquire into and determine whether the citizens of Karachi’s access to justice in the provincial metropolis on May 12, 2007 was denied; how and why an angry and aggressive mob was able to [lay] siege to the Malir Bar Association, City Courts and Sindh High Court on that day, if indeed, this was the case despite the presence of police and why police failed to timely clear these miscreants.

The SHC ordered to determine the hierarchy of the chain of command and control at the political, bureaucratic and law enforcement agencies especially the police and their interaction before, during and immediately after the May 12 incidents, what orders passed by chain of command to the police as how to react on May 12 if any law and order situation arose as was anticipated by the Sindh government and who gave such orders and who was responsible for implementing those orders and what orders were given on that day to tackle the law and order situation and why police remained unable to deal with the law and order situation and was such failure on their part negligence or criminal negligence and to fix responsibility.

To determine whether the security arrangements put in place on May 12 were to genuinely ensure the safe journey of the then deposed chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry from airport to his engagements in the city or in fact an attempt to ensure that he could not reach the Malir bar, City Courts and SHC as per his schedule.

The court also directed to inquire why the permission to the Awami National Party, Pakistan Peoples’ Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and other political parties to hold rallies were not withdrawn prior to May 12 when the then CJ was requested to cancel his engagements in Karachi.