ON May 12 last year, the industrial hub of Pakistan, Karachi, was nothing less than a war zone. Two rallies had been organized; one by the MQM and the other one by members of civil society in support of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. It appears that the historic reception accorded to the Chief Justice's rally from Islamabad to Lahore was too much for the Musharraf government to digest and thus a replay had to be avoided in Karachi. An ally of the then ruling regime had gone public in declaring that it would not allow any other political force to display its strength. On the fateful day, armed men attacked the peaceful rallies. Live footage of a young man firing indiscriminately at the people was just the tip of the iceberg as the violence continued throughout the day. A private TV channel was attacked for its impartial coverage of the events. More distressing was the fact that the orders given by the higher judiciary to facilitate the way of the Chief Justice's rally were flouted. Also the orders to remove hindrances and barricades on the roads were not carried out, which resulted in a tragedy as the ambulances carrying the wounded could not reach hospital. Armed groups took advantage of this situation, torching vehicles and spraying bullets on the peaceful crowds. It is a pity that all this happened while the law enforcement agencies looked on. At least 50 people were killed and over 100 others injured. Not to mince words, the bloodbath that occurred on the day, could have been avoided. There is a big question mark on the role of the law enforcement agencies who stood by as onlookers. Also the government at the centre could have asked its ally MQM to take out the rally some other day. Or the Chief Justice's could have changed its schedule, for that matter. A New York-based human rights watchdog has held the Musharraf government and the Sindh government responsible for the mayhem. However to separate the chaff from the wheat, a probe needs to be conducted. The government must understand it is events like these that shatter the people's confidence and therefore they must be avoided.