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Karachi Shootout Kills 34

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Posted on May 12, 2007

Two politically opposed groups in Karachi, Pakistan, opened fire on each other Saturday as a suspended member of President Pervez Musharraf’s administration, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was arriving in Karachi.  The BBC reported that 34 were killed in the gunfire and 120 injured, and that Chaudhry was forced to return to Islamabad.


Opposition groups blamed the pro-Musharraf MQM party of organising the unrest, but it denied the claim.

Since his suspension on charges of “misuse of authority”, Mr Chaudhry has become the focus of widespread opposition to the government of Mr Musharraf, who took power in a coup in 1999.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett in Islamabad says opposition parties have turned Mr Chaudhry’s case into a campaign against military rule.

His supporters say that Mr Musharraf wants the judiciary headed by a lawyer whom he can more easily manipulate.

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A Khokar's avatar

By A Khokar, May 14, 2007 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

The system of governance in Pakistan is a unique one and needs to be understood, prior to this that one form any particular opinion about this great country which has also a great potential of leading many a neighbouring states in the region. But unfortunately it has some inherent core problems of feudalism spread across its four provinces; where feudal lords have invariably got their full control in the land. These lords own; literally every thing what ever is moving or grows or is built on the land. The Waderas in Sind, The Jagirdars and Choudharies in Punjab, the Maliks in Frontier and many more tribal lords in Baluchistan are all but one authoritarians and dictators; practically holding a full grip on the people and land. Their survival is, in keeping the masses in a state of depravation and in some medieval ages. Benazir albeit an Oxford educated, is also one of them from Sind. She is presently on a self style exile, (waiting in the wings for a big power-grab) living in England.

By any western standards, Military rulers in any country are taken as dictators, tyrants but in case of Pakistan, surprisingly, its military is the sign of unity and integrity of country. It is also there as a beacon of hope for the common people in the way of democracy bringing the advancement, progress in the country and setting the common people free of the shackles and curse of feudalism. The forces of elites and technocrats of country also join hands with military, when ever they can to set the country on course of progress and democracy.

On finding the feudal system shattering and loosing its grip on the masses; the feudal lords try to retaliate and set the webs of conspiracies to topple the governments. There is no dearth of foreign intrusions and major powers also play their part in creation of mayhem and anarchy in and around Pakistan to keep the wind in their favour. Benazir is one of many who after having indulged in embezzlement while in power; amassed a huge wealth and fled. They are now anxiously ‘waiting in the wings’ to get some green signals from Washington and go get grab the power reins the day the present regime is made to topple. At present the turmoil of judiciary and its Chief Judge is one big issue to jeopardise the forth coming elections due to be held in November 2007.Before this that a democratic process solidifies and takes its positive shape through elections; they want that present government must be toppled? Opposition and Feudal forces do not want democratic election to be held lest they loose their hold for ever.

Pakistan Armed forces are strong enough to maintain a law and order and have a good hold on the nuclear assets of country. They are capable enough to defend their country. They know their job well. After all, they are the one; who were able to plan and execute a war to evict the Soviet Union from Afghanistan and helped United States to become a lone super power. They certainly don’t want to govern their country in present form; only they are there to save guard and steer their country on the right tracks.

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By salut, May 13, 2007 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Douglas, the problem with Benazir is she’s a moron,  a devil, a hypocrite, a compulsive liar,dictatorial,
an abuser of human rights; corrupt to the core; etc; The Amnesty Reports of her period in office are far more incriminating than they are in Musharraf’s time.

Her father of course was a common criminal and murderer albeit Oxford educated.

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 13, 2007 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

#69718 by salut on 5/13 at 10:38 am “...The basic problem’s a dearth of good leaders; almost as bad as in the U.S…..”

They had one, once. She came to power in tragic circumstances after her father’s death, etc etc

“Benazir Bhutto .....was the first woman to lead a post-colonial Muslim state. The charismatic Bhutto was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988, only to be deposed 20 months later by the country’s military-supported president Ghulam Ishaq Khan who controversially used the Eighth Amendment to dissolve parliament and force an election….”

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By salut, May 13, 2007 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately in Pakistan, the so-called elected leaders have always been much worse than the military rulers; big-time crooks who were far more dictatorial in terms of any kinda freedoms. Every time a military ruler’s taken over, there’s been widespread celebrations.
The basic problem’s a dearth of good leaders; almost as bad as in the U.S.

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By writerman, May 13, 2007 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Once again our support for a military dictator, who lacks widespread popular support and who is seen as a creature of the United States, is beginning to topple as his rule is questioned and undermined.

Musharraf’s siding with the Bush administration is causing tremendous stress and strain in Pakistan, which may be sliding into something close to civil war. Western policies in the region are superficial and contradictory, as well destabilizing in the extreme. We never seem capable of learning from our mistakes or the past.

It appears that the conflict in Afghanistan is slowly spreading into Pakistan. Where it will all end is anyones guess.

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By Douglas Chalmers, May 13, 2007 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

#69678 by Verne Arnold on 5/13 at 7:14 am “...Other than a pre-emptive by us, that is probably the biggest threat to an actual nuclear war.  I don’t want to nuke anybody.  I don’t want anybody to nuke anybody else….....I’m beginning to feel like I’m speaking to the converted and getting a false sense that my and your writings (everyone else’s as well) are giving us a false sense of accomplishment…...”

Barack Obama recently by journalist who asked was there any country you considered should be ‘nuked’ said, “No…..not yet.”!!! And what will Americans say when it does happen? Merely, “Oh, my Gaaaaad!”

With blogging, though, Verne, you really must get out and about on the net as you did on the streets. It is the new “people power” but do blog on as many sites as you are comfortable with and in as many countries as you can.

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By A Khokar, May 13, 2007 at 8:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

History shows that Judiciary in Pakistan is always found serving the various Military and Civil authoritative regimes; always ready to serve and give them a clean bill of health, in order to consolidate their take over and prolong the stay. Judiciary has repeatedly, created a state of limbo for the ‘people of Pakistan’ to fix them into a bondage and left in shackles for the exploitation, trample and oppression by some oligarch in action on the stage.

Loop holes purposely left open or created skilfully by Judiciary are bound to be exploited by any adventurist, like the one exploited by Pervez Musharaf on take over; but its culpability will always throw its burden and debris back on the originator (Judiciary)and will held it responsible.
The allegations of corruptions levelled by the rulers against Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) have created an atmosphere of anarchy and mayhem in the country. The agitation being rallied by a group of lawyers in support of Chief Justice, their boss, may not be a matter of surprise for any one but mere rallying around him to declare him above the law, sends shivers through any body’s spine. It may be illogical to denounce Pervez Musharaf by his rivals; when he has duly and rightly been installed as president in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan.

In the light of the sensitivity of the charges related to his stature and position in the office of chief justice; it is said that he was also suggested to resign but he chose to challenge the suggestive verdict. In the course of his challenging the present day regime, the wisdom may well demands of him that first and far most he should get a clean bill of health (to clear him of the allegations) from the court; i.e. his own court. Once cleared; then he could try to fan his ‘word’ out that how a scandalous drama on purpose was staged and made to swirl around him and what were the vested interests to malign and silence him and get rid of a stalwart like himself.

Although CJP can’t claim to be some ‘sacred cow’ as he happens to be the one; who granted the clean bill of health to the present day authoritarian regime, for more than one time ;( the regime which came through a coup). His effort, now to run away from the allegations and adopt a rout of escape like fugitives and take refuge in the lap of some mad caps …the forsaken opposition parties; makes his entire move a suspicious one. But these allegation charges in any case, will have to be faced and disprove in the court of justice to clear him of charges; provided he happens to be a clean person. He has but to return to the witness chamber to gives his full account. One wonders that why doesn’t he trust his own courts? May it be a case of CJP or any common man in the street; it should be visible that justice is served and takes the priority over every thing in his institution and it is done at all costs. Being a CJP, he has practically joined the political camps and fell prey to their exploitation. His action of default speaks volumes in it self. It is also taking a heavy toll; as score of people are dieing in the conduct of his rallies. Over 37 persons have died in Karachi so far. Justice is meant to uphold ‘the truth’ only…less some one is trying to run away from it.

A cry heard from the ‘mad caps camp’ on his behalf to drop all the charges levelled against CJP at this stage and restore him on his former position or otherwise; may be a bad advice given to the fugitive. These rallies of well wishers round him may not revive his position and avail him any acquittal or respite at the Alter of justice. He may be mistaken that he plans not to fight himself as a Chief Justice of Pakistan… as a ‘lone ranger’ and prefers to become a fugitive seeking asylum in mad caps camp.

To avail the supremacy of absolute justice in Pakistan; Pakistanis have to strive for it—-very hard.

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By Verne Arnold, May 13, 2007 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

Re #69670 Mr. Chalmers,
Yes, I agree, we should be thankful.  Other than a pre-emptive by us, that is probably the biggest threat to an actual nuclear war.  I don’t want to nuke anybody.  I don’t want anybody to nuke anybody else. 

However, our duplicity is overwhelming and some times I just get a little crazy. 
It has been said by someone that “we are not the only superpower…there is another one…the rest of the world”.  This is true, I think, but…

I can only think that the rest of the world is like us…they don’t know the power they have or are tricked (fooled) into disunity or…I don’t know… and rendered impotent.

We as individuals have somehow been deemed irrelevant and it is as though we don’t know it.  In the 60’s and early 70’s we went to the street and got in peoples faces…they (everybody) couldn’t ignore it.

The failure of the internet is; it is very seductive and selective and can in fact be ignored.  Because of the sense of urgency it can also be a very shallow way to communicate.  Ill considered answers and responses, sometimes mine, are rampant and are a trap.  You have many postings and I’m coming along with more than a few, but, I’m beginning to feel like I’m speaking to the converted and getting a false sense that my and your writings (everyone else’s as well) are giving us a false sense of accomplishment.

I miss the streets and the impact and the passion and the commitment that went with it.  I miss being photographed by the FBI and the CIA.  I miss the results which no one could deny!  It was in fact truly people power.  Hell, it ended the Viet Nam war!  Is it gone forever?  Please forgive the rantings of an old man, but I do not apologize.


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By Douglas Chalmers, May 13, 2007 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

#69663 by Verne Arnold on 5/13 at 3:20 am ‘...What’s the reason we haven’t nuked him….?”

We should be grateful that India hasn’t done so already!!!

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By Verne Arnold, May 13, 2007 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

Let’s see;
Musharraf: Dictator, military junta, not a member of the NPT, nuclear arsenal, home and support for the Taliban!  Sounds worse than Iran.

What’s the reason we haven’t nuked him or attacked him, or isolated him?  Why are we selling him advanced technology?  I can’t seem to remember. 

Bush and Cheny’s buddy…

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