May 12, 2007 By Kazim Aizaz Alam Today is May 12. Exactly three years ago, around 52 people were killed in broad daylight on the streets of Karachi at the hands of MQM ‘workers’. What happened that day is no secret now. Much has been written on the topic and there is little hope that the mass murderers will ever be apprehended and punished. It’s out of question. Nobody can even touch the MQM. I can’t stop thinking about May 12 because one of the innocent men who lost his life in this political violence had once been our landlord and next-door neighbour. He was also my father’s friend and worked at Pakistan Steel Cadet College as bursar. Kayani sahib, a father of two, left for the Karachi airport from his home in Gulshan-e-Hadeed on May 12, 2007, to welcome the then deposed chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. He wanted to be a part of the rally that was to take the beloved CJ from the airport to the Sindh High Court. Kayani sahib was fond of CJ Chaudhry because he had annulled the privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills just months before his forced retirement by the army chief-cum-president of the country. His participation in the rally being held to put pressure on the Musharraf regime to restore the deposed CJ to his rightful position was actually to thank the Supreme Court for saving his livelihood from being sold to a private bidder in a shady deal involving ‘acts of omission and commission’. Nobody heard anything about Kayani sahib for three days. On May 16, his dead body was found rotting in the bushes near FTC on Shahra-e-Faisal. He was shot dead. Here is a letter to the editor I wrote under a fake name in The News and Daily Times on April 1, 2008, when Aitzaz Ahsan and Asfandyar Wali Khan said that Karachiites should try to forget the May 12 mayhem and move forward. ***** Why forget May 12? From Aitzaz Ahsan to Asfandyar Wali Khan, every notable politician is now advising the citizens of Sindh to forget the May 12 mayhem. Of course these politicians will advise people to bury the hatchet because they have to join hands with the people who planned the carnage to stop the chief justice from attending a lawyers’ congregation. I don't know about these politicians but as for me, May 12 was one of the most horrible days of my life. Upon my return from the office at two in the morning (I work at a newspaper office), the van I was travelling in was stopped on the Qayyumabad bridge (Korangi) by the armed workers of a political outfit who were carrying their party flags. They asked the driver to go back and take some other route to get to Baloch Colony. After well over an hour’s drive, the driver managed to drop me and one of my colleagues near the bridge of Baloch Colony. When we went over the bridge, hooligans of the same party were ‘placing’ heavy containers carefully — at that time we couldn't really anticipate that from the same bridge bullets would be fired the next day on the approaching convoys so as to stop the people from participating in the chief justice's rally. Who can forget the footage aired by a private television channel showing a burly man moving freely in the vicinity of Grumandir crossing with a Kalashnikov in one hand and his party flag in the other? These politicians can forget the mayhem and sit together with the perpetrators of the May 12 killings, but those who lost their loved ones forever can never put the carnage out of their mind. Zulfikar Minto Karachi ***** The Supreme Court is silent on the May 12 case. After its first restoration on July 20, 2007, the judiciary did take suo moto notice; however, the court building was literally flooded with men and women from the MQM on the first hearings – there were thousands of them – who came to demand justice for the ‘military operations’ against the MQM in the 1990s. (Mind you, the MQM was still in power at federal, provincial and local bodies’ levels for five years.) This was a pressure tactic by the MQM reminding the court that if it tried to take on the ‘middle-class’ party its ‘workers’ would literally run it over. There is little chance now that this case will ever reach its conclusion.
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May 12 2007