Archive for January, 2012

Condemn the inhuman and criminal act of killing of three lawyers in Karachi and call for immediate arrest and prosecution of perpetrators invovled in the incident.

Four lawyers were attacked by unidentified armed men in Karachi. Three were killed while fourth one is in critical condition in the hospital. Pakistan Bar Council has announced a nationwide strike in protest of the killings. Now total number of lawyer’s killing in Karachi reaches to 14. If lawyers who defend the innocent citizens, both at the courts and outside, are not safe in this country, nobody can feel secure.  

These killers did not come from the sky. They were chasing the lawyers from the city court premises and shot the lawyers at a point-blank range. Question arises why police failed to cordon off the area, why police failed to cordon off the crime scene. Thanks to Home Minister Sindh who has ordered the suspicion of the SHO Aram Bagh (area of incident) but the suspension of the SHO will not help in apprehending the culprits. Chief Minister, Sindh, Governor Sindh, Home Minister, IG Police, DG Ranger and other highest official of the Sindh Government must design an effective strategy to deal with the target killings and take serious and concrete actions to prevent such incidents for improving the security of the citizens.Mr. Badar Munir Jaffery, his son Kafeel Jaffery and nephew Shakeel Jaffery were killed when unidentified men on motorcycles intercepted their car near Pak Chowk and sprayed bullets over it. Mr. Barkat Ali, the fourth occupant, who was accompanying them also seriously injured and admitted to the Civil Hospital Karachi in a critical condition.This is not the first time that lawyers have been targeted and killed. In last few months, more than 11 lawyers have already been killed in Karachi and no culprit has been apprehended, prosecuted and sentenced. This is further encouraging the culprits to shed more bloods and kill citizens including lawyers. If the level of security of lawyers is low in the country then we can imagine the security of common masses.Actions Taken:

Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat Ebad ordered the immediate arrest of the attackers involved in the killings of lawyers. Pakistan Bar Council has announced a nationwide strike in protest of killing, Chief Justice, Sindh High Court has taken suo moto action on the killing and summoned the Sindh Police Chief and other official responsible for the security of the citizens. The Home Minister has suspended the Aram Bagh SHO (Station House Officer) where the incident took place and asked the police to submit the report within 48 hours.

Besides, a committee has also been constituted under the supervision of DIG South Commandant, Mr. Shoukat Ali Shah to investigate the killings.[1] These all steps taken by the Court and the Police authorities are not new. They have become routine actions and will not give any result because these actions are reactionary steps to silence the anger of the public.

According to some witnesses a police constable was present at the spot but he instead of targeting the culprits, resorted to aerial firing. We fail to understand that why our Police and law enforcement forces have failed to comprehend the culprits responsible for the killings of innocent citizens. These killers did not come from the sky. They were chasing the lawyers from the city court premises and shot the lawyers at a point-blank range. Question arises why police failed to cordon off the area, why police failed to cordon off the crime scene. Thanks to Home Minister Sindh who has ordered the suspicion of the SHO Aram Bagh (area of incident) but the suspension of the SHO will not help in apprehending the culprits. Chief Minister, Sindh, Governor Sindh, Home Minister, IG Police, DG Ranger and other highest official of the Sindh Government must design an effective strategy to deal with the target killings and take serious and concrete actions to prevent such incidents for improving the security of the citizens.


[1] Other members of the committee are SSP South Naeem Sheikh, SP Saddar, Tariq Dharejo, Crime Range SP Niaz Ahmed Khoso, Chief of the Special Investigation Unit, SSP Shah Jahan Khan


[1] Other members of the committee are SSP South Naeem Sheikh, SP Saddar, Tariq Dharejo, Crime Range SP Niaz Ahmed Khoso, Chief of the Special Investigation Unit, SSP Shah Jahan Khan

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The call for a two-day PEN DOWN strike across the province was given by the All Sindh Subordinate Judicial Staff Welfare Organization for pay rise. It started on Friday, 6th January 2012 and continued for the second consecutive day, Saturday 7th January, 2012. It mustered support from the civil society, the Sindh Bar Council, Karachi, Hyderabad, and other Bar Associations. All the subordinate courts wore deserted look because undertrial prisoners were not brought to the court. Whether this strike served the purpose, we asked the staff. “Our hopes for justice were dashed when the strike was not taken seriously by the Government of Sindh. Our legitimate demands were not met. We got disappointed but we are determined and we will not stop until our demands which are legal, moral, legitimate, are met,” said an employee of the court.

Employees of the subordinate courts protesting at the Session Court Hyderabad
According to staff organization, their strike still continues and each week Friday and Saturday the staff will observe their pen down strike until their demand for pay rise is met. According to details, more than 7000 judicial employees of subordinate judiciary in Sindh have decided not to attend the offices till their demands would be fulfilled. RightsNow Pakistan attended the rally organized by the Judicial Staff Subordinate Court Hyderabad and noted their demands. The main concern shared by the employees was discrimination against the subordinate staff of Sindh province. According to them, after restoration of independent judiciary, new policy has been announced which enhanced the packages and privileges of the employees. All three provinces (Balouchistan, Khyber Pakhtun, and Punjab) followed the policy. The similar policy was even followed by the Sindh High Court and applied on the Supreme Court staff in Sindh but employees of subordinate courts in Sindh were deprived of the facilities.  The employees of subordinate courts of Sindh had pleaded in the SHC in May 2011, after which it had directed the Government of Sindh for issuing a notification to Finance Ministry Sindh but unfortunately despite passage of eight months action has not been taken on it. One staff of the subordinate court, Hyderabad shared that, “There are 35 subordinate courts in judicial Districts of Hyderabad and the estimated number of these courts is 245. They are taking lower salaries which are not enough for them to feed their children, support their education, health and other expenses. We are in deep debt and stressed.”
 
This cartoon show that the prices of fuel, bread and meat have grown but salary is not represents the case of subordinate judiciary staff.

A reader of a subordinate court shared that the salaries of the employees of subordinate court’s staff are very low. It is very difficult for them to survive. One court clerk who works hard whole day, from 8 am -5 pm earns just 18,000 rupees per month which is not enough to feed their children. What about their education, health and other needs? This will open way for corruption in the judiciary.” A staff from subordinate court Tando Mohummad Khan shared that he comes to court at 8 am but he does not know when his work day ends. There is huge work for us to do. Sometimes we go home at 7 pm because we have to complete the work of the day. A staff of clerical rank with ten years experience shared that his salary is less than 20,000 Pakistani rupees but a sweeper of Sindh High Court takes 37,000 PKR. Isn’t injustice? I am asking Sindh Chief Minister whether he can maintain his own family in that meager amount.  They are giving us salary which is lower than the High Court’s sweeper’s salary. And, that’s injustice,” said the employee.

We observed that due to strike people who came to courts to seek justice felt disappointed. These strikes are delaying the administration of justice and putting more burden on people’s pockets.  

 “I have been coming to courts for almost every day but due to these strikes my prayer for justice is being delayed,” a complainant shared.

A lady shared that, “My suit for maintenance is pending since two months due to these strikes and other issues.”

“These strikes are delaying the delivery of justice to the common people. Attitude of Sindh Government shows lack of respect and importance for the honorable work employees of the subordinate judicial does. This lack of acknowledgement and enhancement of their salaries will encourage the staff of the subordinate courts to use illegal means to earn money,” a journalist told us. Employees of the subordinate courts plays important role in the administration of justice at the lowest tier of the judicial system and depriving them of their due rights is injustice by the Government of Sindh. RightsNow Pakistan believes that the demands of the judicial staff are justified RightsNow Pakistan calls for immediate action by the Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah. He should approve the summary and direct the finance department to issue the notification of court staff’s salary without any delay. We request all lawyers, civil society organizations, NGOs and political parties for supporting the struggle of the subordinate court staff for achieving their legal and legitimate rights. This is human rights violation of employees of subordinate courts in Sindh and their concerns must be addressed immediately.

Please show your support for the struggle of employees of subordinate judiciary by sending an email to the Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah and other officials for accepting their leigitimate demands.

Syed Qaim Ali Shah

Chief Minister

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 920 2000

E-mail: cmcomplaintcell@cmsindh.gov.pk 

2. Federal Minister for Human Rights

Ministry of Human Rights

Old US Aid building

Ata Turk Avenue

G-5, Islamabad

PAKISTAN

Fax: +9251-9204108

Email: sarfaraz_yousuf@yahoo.com

3. Mr. Muhammad Ayaz Soomro

Minister for Law, Parliamantry Affairs & Criminal Prosecution Service

Sindh Assembly Building,

Court road, Karachi, Sindh province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 9211982

E-mail: secy.law@sindh.gov.pk 

6. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court

High Court Building

Saddar, Karachi

Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 9213220

E-mail: info@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk, mit2shc@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk

7. Ms. Nadia Gabol

Minister for Human Rights

Government of Sindh,

Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,

Karachi, Sindh Province

PAKISTAN

Fax: +92 21 9207044

Tel: +92 21 9207043

E-mail: lukshmil@yahoo.com