THE chief justice’s remarks about the possible imposition of emergency in Balochistan must be seen as reflective of his understandable frustration over the situation in the country’s largest province. Hearing on Wednesday a petition filed by the Balochistan Bar Association, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry came down hard on the provincial government and regretted that state officials had not attended the hearings in the Quetta registry. His ire was justified, given the back seat the provincial government has chosen to take while Balochistan burns. The scene in the insurgency-plagued province is characterised by disappearances and the dumping of bodies. Due process has almost ceased to exist, for it is the security agencies which have occupied centre stage to solve by violence what basically is a political problem. Affected families seldom blame the political government for the disappearances and murders, and invariably hold the Frontier Corps, Military Intelligence and ISI responsible for what is a gross violation of human rights. Coming from Balochistan himself, the chief justice obviously feels strongly about the goings-on and seems keen to ensure the rule of law but is shocked by the non-appearance in his court of key federal and provincial officials.

The truth is: the intelligence agencies are waging a war of their own on insurgents or suspected insurgents and eliminating them. A law unto themselves, the agencies do not think that their job is to take the suspects to court and leave it to the judges to decide. The issue is of direct import to the evolution of democracy in Pakistan, for reining in the agencies is a national problem, and Justice Chaudhry knows this more than anyone else. As he remarked the other day, checking the disappearances and recovering the ‘disappeared’ would solve 60 per cent of Balochistan’s problem. While this may be a simplification, the chief justice’s observations point to the gravity of the situation arising from the impunity with which the security agencies operate, especially in Balochistan’s tribal and semi-tribal areas. The emergency he spoke of would serve to weaken the rule of law and give more powers to the spy agencies.

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Comments (7)

M. Asghar
May 25, 2012 10:16 am
If imposition of emergency is the only solution to control the violence in the province, it should be done immediately with all the force of law.
Derawal39
May 25, 2012 11:20 am
The imposition of Emergency means suspension of Human Rights! This would give a free hand to the agenies to do what the like! Aren't we trying to achieve the opposite.
Syed Hamid Ahmed
May 25, 2012 4:03 pm
If I know the real cause of a problem and this fact is well known to all, what others will call me when I make an accusation against someone who is not the cause of that problem?....... Is not CJ by accusing the wrong party putting his reputation on-line and that of the institution he represents/heads ? Perhaps its time for CJ to take a long vacation, relax, reinvigorate, since 2006-2007 hes been through a lot of stress.
@usmaniqbalkhan
May 25, 2012 9:05 pm
the issue of balochistan is very sensitive and serious.one thing is sure that provisional government is not taking any interest in balushistan issue.now all responsibility come on the shoulder of aprx court to maintain law and order situation in this provience.
Attorney Tausif
May 25, 2012 9:56 pm
I fully support DAWN's bold and accurate editorial on the Balochistan situation. DAWN is correct in pointing out that it is the security agencies (ISI, MI etc) which are responsible for disappearances and murders and the dire lawlessness existing in that province. Consequently, its these agencies and the security forces that should be basically taken to task in this regard. Also, CJ's remarks about the imposition of emergency in the country, it seems that he was way out of line, his frustration notwithstanding, since the matter of imposing emergency or not is the exclusive function of the Executive branch of the government. This issue is outside the domain of the judicial branch. The fundamental principle of separation of powers of the three branches of the govt must be respected and not violated. Thanks.
mohammad
May 26, 2012 2:41 am
CJ is right. we need to save BALOCHISTAN AS A PART OF PAKISTAN. give them their money.they are our people.
Soft-Shock
May 26, 2012 9:44 am
Why on earth only our beloved Chief Justice of Pakistan gets "Frustrated" on every things these days. He should stop act like a Messiah - on the contrary his daily out-spoken habit has done more harm to his own Institution "The Judiciary" then anybody else. Declaring Emergency at this time - where was CJ 4Years ago - Was he sleeping !!!
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