May 12 Karachi Carnage Remembered in San Francisco Bay Area
By Ali Hasan Cemendtaur


Tayyab Mehmud and penalists

For Pakistan, May 12, 2007 was a momentous -- and a depressing -- day.  If violence has always been a part of the Pakistani politics then the Karachi carnage of May 12 was the ugliest manifestation of that fact.  It was the day when Pakistan’s military ruler decided to break the momentum of a growing opposition by charging his political proponents to tackle the lawyers’ movement.  Over forty people died on May 12 but the strategy of scaring people with violence backfired.  Opposition to Pervez Musharraf grew even stronger and Musharraf was forced to make several concessions.
Friends of South Asia,  a group of Bay Area watchers of South Asian politics, observed May 12 by holding a talk and a discussion on Sunday, May 11.  The commemorative program, co-sponsored by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan American Congress, featured eminent Pakistani-American law professor Tayyab Mahmud as the main speaker and Ijaz Syed, Javed Ellahie, and Dabbir Tirmizi as panelists who discussed various facets of Pakistani judicial crisis.  The program was titled “Pakistan’s Judicial Crisis and Remembering Karachi May 12 Carnage.”
Tayyab Mahmud in his speech said that the Pakistani coup d’etat of 2007 was unique in the world history, because unlike other coups that one was staged to oust judges.  Mahmud also said that the Pakistani events of last year should be seen in the larger context of developing world’s response to the Western hegemony.
In the panel discussion Javed Ellahie said that the lawyers’ movement in which roughly five thousand lawyers achieved a lot for the whole nation was unprecedented in the history of Pakistan.
Dabbir Tirmizi said his party, Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf, did not have any hope in either Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zardari in reinstating impartial judiciary in Pakistan.  Ijaz Syed apprised the audience of the latest political situation and said that if the coalition of PPP and PML(N) breaks apart on the issue of the deposed judges, then things would move towards the original “deal” that the US wanted to broker between PPP and Pervez Musharraf.
With the deposed judges crisis dragging on, Friends of South Asia (FOSA) plans arranging similar programs to raise political awareness on Pakistan among the local population.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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