The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has brought into focus an element that had been largely missing since the May 12 violence in Karachi — no enquiry into the tragedy. The HRCP’s exhaustive report released on Monday, titled “Carnage in Karachi, a City under Siege,” accuses the government of being party to the carnage in which 40 people died. The government’s let-bygones-be-bygones attitude regarding the daylong killings which took place in full view of television cameras has led many people to suspect its involvement. The suspicion is strengthened, among other things, by the failure of the police to intervene to stop the bloodshed. However, even if the police were willing to act, any action by it was made impossible by the fact that it had been disarmed and, in addition, mostly confined to police stations. And this despite the expectation of violence in advance of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry’s arrival in Karachi to attend the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court.
The commission’s 124-page report, its senior staff said, would be presented to the Sindh High Court. The court already is holding a hearing into the events of that tragic day. The HRCP’s approach to the High Court promises to bring the event to sustained national attention. This is critical, not only for the perpetrators of the crime to be exposed, but also to discourage a repeat performance in a similar situation, such as the coming general elections. Furthermore, it should serve as a blunt reminder to the federal and provincial governments, both of whom said that an inquiry was not necessary. Another important aspect to the HRCP’s move is the proposal for an inter-party commission for examination of the causes of the carnage, even though the strictly non-partisan attitude required here would be impossible in view of the direct involvement of some political organisation in the violence. It is now for the new assemblies emerging from the elections to take up the matter. As for the government, whatever its stance on the May 12 carnage, it would be failing in its basic duty if it failed to make sure that the elections are not marred by violence.
Source: The News