KARACHI - The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday ordered to constitute a special tribunal regarding the May 12, 2007, mayhem, and also form a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the riot that claimed at least 50 lives in Karachi.

A division bench comprising Justice Iqbal Kalhoroo and Justice KK Agha disposed of the petition filed by Iqbal Kazmi sought formation of a judicial commission to probe the bloodshed occurred on the eve of arrival of former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The SHC bench had earlier reserved its judgment after hearing the concluding arguments from the petitioner, Sindh government as well as amicus curiae to assist the court.

The bench recommended the appointment of a senior judge of the high court for the proceeding and oversees the matter; however the bench ordered to constitute a JIT to reinvestigate the riot occurred on May 12, 2007. The court directed the Sindh government to write a letter to the CJ of the SHC in this regard.

The court ordered the provincial government to reopen the 65 pending cases mostly were declared ‘A Class’ (proceedings in the case frozen with the approval of the court)

In its order, the court directed to determine the culprits behind the bloodshed occurred on the arrival of the former CJP. The main characters must be held accountable who issued directives to block the roads to stop the lawyers’ rally, and the role of the then federal and provincial government must be investigated if involved in blocking the roads.

The bench sought facts about the authorities who gave order to block the roads and buildings of the city court, Malir district court and high court by the angry mob those made hostage to the lawyers and the political workers who were moving to welcome the former CJP.

The bench also sought report about the failure of the law enforcers to stop the miscreants, and parked water tankers and laid containers on several roads.

The court ordered to investigate about the security lapse on the arrival of former CJP and directed to determine the names of the political party and its leaders if involved in killing the people who were welcoming the CJP.

The high court has ordered the Sindh government to submit a report on the implementation of the verdict within two weeks. It also ordered re-opening of 65 cases shut under A class law, while a separate tribunal will be set up for the cases. The high court also sought a report from the Sindh government overpayment of compensation to the families of those who lost their lives and injured during the clashes.

Earlier, Advocates Faisal Siddiqui, who was assigned as amicus curiae to assist the court, had advised to establish a commission submitted that the judiciary inquiry can be initiated into the matter. However the Sindh government had opposed and stated that there was no need to reinvestigate the matter.

Around 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in attacks on rallies organised by members of political parties and legal fraternity who had attempted to receive the then deposed chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, at the Karachi airport ahead of a lawyers’ gathering.

Justice Chaudhry was forced to fly back to Islamabad after having been restricted to the airport for nine hours. MQM’s Waseem Akhtar was home adviser to the Sindh chief minister at the time.

Petitioner Iqbal Kazmi had moved the court to constitute a judicial commission to probe into the matter. The federal government representative and amici curiae (friends of the court) had argued in the favour of the petitioner whereas the Sindh government had opposed the idea in the court.

The petitioner held former president Pervez Musharraf, MQM founder Altaf Hussain and Akhtar, who is currently serving as mayor Karachi, as respondents in the petition. He contended that the MQM had committed the massacre on the orders of Musharraf.

Earlier on May 12 this year, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had directed the high court to decide the case within three months. Subsequently, the court reserved the decision after both sides had completed their arguments.

The counsel for the Sindh government had contended during the hearing of the case that there was no need to ignite the 11-year-old issue. He argued that during the current year a larger bench of the high court had declared the case non-maintainable.