KARACHI - Speakers of a national conference on Saturday questioned Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that what was stopping the apex court from taking a notice of the violence that hit the city five years ago upon his arrival.

They also demanded the government to carry out a deweaponisaton drive in the city, besides launching an across-the-board operation.

The event, “May-12 Mayhem – Outcome of Reconciliatory Policy, Targeted-Killing and Restoration of Peace and Harmony in Karachi”, organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami was attended by a large number of leaders of political and religious parties.

The conference passed a resolution demanding the government to apprehend and expose those behind the May-12 mayhem.

In his presidential address, JI chief Syed Munawwar Hassan objected to the demands by some political parties for a military operation against criminals and extortionists in Karachi. He termed military operations as the root-cause of the public hatred, citing the example of Balochistan.

He said the PPP was invited to the conference, but the MQM was not because of the JI’s differences with it.

Without naming Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, the JI chief called the political parties to come up with a collective agenda instead of sticking to the option of solo flight.

He termed the Charter of Democracy between the PPP and PML-N as well as the government’s reconciliatory policy as useless. He accused the ruling PPP of patronising terrorists under the garb of its reconciliatory policy. He said the operation in Lyari was the continuation of the May-12 carnage.

The JI chief asserted that the Balochs could be calmed only when former dictator Pervez Musharraf was booked in the Nawab Akbar Bugti assassination case.

He urged upon the people of Karachi that they should change their approach and bring about a change through the power of their votes. He, however, expressed apprehensions over the shifting of 1.8 million votes under a plan to steal the next polls.

PML-N leader Raja Zafarul Haq said that Pervez Musharraf had committed countless crimes and the May-12 mayhem was a horrendous one. He also called on the political parties to unite for a joint struggle to save the country.

PTI Vice-Chairman and former foreign minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the Parliament had lost its credibility and it was no more than a debating club now. “The escalating crime rate, extortion, display of arms was not limited to Karachi but the whole country,” he observed. ANP Sindh chief Senator Shahi Syed said an across-the-board operation was the only solution to the rising violence in the city. He demanded that criminals and extortionists be taken to task regardless of their political affiliations.

Former Senator and chief of National Party Mir Hasil Bazenjo said that Pervez Musharraf was directly responsible for the manslaughter on May 12, 2007.

Sindhi nationalist and SUP chief Jalal Mehmood Shah said the May-12 carnage was a horrendous day in the history of the country. He lamented that the judiciary was reluctant to take a notice of it.

JUI-F leader Hafiz Hussain Ahmed said that Supreme Court should summon the present and former army chiefs, Pervez Kiani and Pervez Musharraf, who were the architect of the NRO.

PML-N Sindh chief Syed Ghaus Ali Shah also asked the chief justice of Pakistan as to what compulsions were blocking the apex court from taking a notice of the violence incident of May 12, 2007.

PML-N leader Senator Mushahidulla Khan said that media, businessmen and educational institutions had been held hostage in the city.

JI Karachi chief Muhammad Hussain Mahenti, AML leader Mufti Usman Yar Khan, KBA President Mehmoodul Hassan, PDP Chief Basharat Mirza, JUP chief Anus Noorani, Nusrat Mirza, Zia Abbas and others also shared their views.