Pakistan cracks down on riot threat

Supreme Court suspends hearing into misconduct allegations against former judge.

Karachi has seen days of violence and protests over the suspension of Iftikhar Chaudhry [AFP]
Karachi has seen days of violence and protests over the suspension of Iftikhar Chaudhry [AFP]
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Authorities in Karachi, where recent violence left about 40 people dead and about 150 injured, had earlier banned gatherings of more than five people and declared a public holiday across Sindh province.

“We have banned the assembly of more than five people in any public place in Karachi for Monday,” Brigadier Ghulam Muhammad Muhtaram, the interior secretary for Sindh province said.
Paramilitary troops had been ordered to shoot rioters on sight and an extra 3,000 soldiers had been brought into the southern port city, bringing the total to 13,000.
Calls for strike action
Opposition parties called for a second nationwide “black day” of strikes and protests over the bloodshed which began in Karachi on Saturday when 34 people, mostly opposition activists, died in clashes between supporters of Chaudhry and Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president.
The clashes came after activists from the pro-Musharraf Muttahida Qaumi Movement party blocked off most of the city in order to prevent a rally by the chief justice and instead hold their own counter-demonstration.
Mobs also set fire to shops after funeral prayers for one of the victims of the clashes, while the funerals of two other casualties went ahead peacefully.
Four people, including a policeman, were killed on Sunday while, according to the city’s police chief, about 50 arrests had been made.
Court official shot dead

An extra 3,000 soldiers have been
brought into Karachi [AFP]

Syed Hamid Raza, an assistant registrar at the Supreme Court, was killed in a residential area of Islamabad, but the motive behind his killing was not known, said Ghulam Mohammed Baqir, a local police chief.

“I can only confirm that Syed Hamid Raza has been killed, and we are still investigating,” he said, without providing any further details.
Mohammed Ali, the registrar at the Supreme Court, confirmed the killing, but said he did not know who the attackers were.
One source reported that Raza was killed by robbers, but early on Monday police were still investigating the incident.
However, Raza’s family later denied this, Al Jazeera reported.
The allegations against Chaudhry, which he denies, include that he abused his office to obtain a well-paid police job for his son and misused official transport, including helicopters.
In Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, the Supreme Court suspended its hearing into a petition by Chaudhry against an inquiry into the misconduct allegations after Justice Falak Sher, one of 14 judges on the bench, refused to hear the case.
Chaudhry used to head the Supreme Court until his dismissal by Musharraf on March 9.
Source: News Agencies


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