QUETTA: Annoyed by non-implementation of the Supreme Court’s orders, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry directed the Balochistan home department and law enforcement agencies on Tuesday to recover and produce before the court all missing persons in a week.
A three-judge bench, comprising the chief justice, Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, is hearing a petition on the law and order situation and human rights violations in the province at the Quetta registry of Supreme Court.
Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, defence ministry representative Mohammad Hussain Shehbaz, provincial Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai, Inspector General Tariq Umar Khatab and Advocate General Amanullah Kanrani were present in the court.
The court rejected a request made by Raja Irshad, the counsel for the Frontier Corps Balochistan, for an in camera briefing on missing persons and law and order. “It is regrettable that law enforcement agencies are not obeying the court’s orders to produce the persons who disappeared,” the CJP said, adding that the court wanted to see recovery and production of all missing persons.
He said the authorities, including law enforcement agencies, were trying to prolong the missing persons’ case and warned that such attitude would worsen the situation. If a missing person was wanted in any case, he should be put on trial, he added.
The home secretary informed the court that 101 people – 86 civilians and 15 policemen – had lost their lives in target killings in Quetta last month. Police arrested three terrorists who confessed that they had killed 24 religious scholars in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan.
Quetta police chief Mir Zubair said 56 terrorists had been killed. He said funds had been allocated in the budget to set up a forensic laboratory in Quetta.
The chief secretary said the government was in a state of war against banned outfits as they were carrying out acts of terror, sectarian killings and sabotage. He admitted that police and Levies personnel had no capacity to pursue terrorists if their posts were attacked.
The court said the government should use latest technology and equipment to trace the elements involved in sectarian and targeted killings. Terrorist activities could be stopped if the government paid attention to check sources of terror funding. “Is the government serious about tracing out the hideouts of banned militant and sectarian organisations and their sources of funding?” it asked.
The chief justice said if there were Firari (fugitive) camps, the persons operating them should be caught and produced before the court. “We have not visited Quetta for a picnic; we are here to resolve grievances of the masses.”
The defence ministry representative said if the court issued an order the army could be asked to raid Firari camps. The court wondered how could it issue such an order when it had taken oath to protect the Constitution.
Justice Khilji said the term ‘Firari camps’ should be used carefully.
An FC official informed the court that some missing persons were living at Firari camps in Afghanistan.
“You are trying to waste the time of the court,” the chief justice told him.
The DPO of Khuzdar said Rafiq Mengal, an officer investigating the disappearance of Ali Hassan from Khuzdar, had been murdered.
The court asked the inspector general of FC and its Chagai commandant to appear before it on Wednesday.
The CJP asked the FC’s counsel why the force was not producing missing persons and taking the matter seriously.
The court also expressed annoyance over the absence of the attorney general during the hearing of missing persons’ case.
The CJP said the major issue of Balochistan was law and order and a sense of insecurity. He told the chief secretary that if the government failed to take steps to recover missing persons and improve law and order, the court would issue an order in this regard.
“The people of Balochistan are patriotic and they feel insecure because of the deteriorating law and order situation. It is a responsibility of the government to provide security and protection to people,” he observed.
MURDER PROBE: Asked about progress in the murder case of Mir Haqmal Raisani, a nephew of Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, the home secretary said it was a high-profile case and an investigation was under way.
The chief justice said buses carrying pilgrims had been attacked and several people killed, but the state was not fulfilling its responsibility.
The officer investigating the murder of wife and daughter of MPA Mir Bakhtiar Khan Domki submitted a report that Mir Bakhtiar was in Karachi, but he had not met his wife and daughter for 14 days before their murder.
According to the report, one of the slain women was wearing a necklace worth Rs8 million when they were shot dead in Karachi.
Justice Khilji Arif observed that police were still using the 1940 investigation system instead of adopting latest techniques.