ISLAMABAD, July 24: A visibly disturbed Supreme Court judges ordered the federal and Balochistan governments on Tuesday to admit in writing that they had miserably failed to establish the writ of law in the strife-torn province.
“We direct the provincial and federal governments, Frontier Corps (FC) and the defence department to put up a statement under the signatures of the competent authorities on Wednesday showing why the Constitution is not being enforced wholly on account of apparent failure of the executive machinery to control law and order,” said an order dictated by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
The court is hearing a petition on the law and order situation and human rights violations in Balochistan.
“We have noted that it has become a routine in Balochistan where not only civilians but also uniformed personnel of police, FC and Coast Guards are abducted or kidnapped or picked up for ransom,” the court regretted. No agencies, including the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence and FC, or the defence authorities were working satisfactory in the province.
“It’s a failure, a constitutional breakdown; no force is ready to deliver,” the chief justice observed in utter disgust.
The damning order was issued after the FC failed to recover and produce before the court on Tuesday missing persons Abdul Malik, Zakir Majeed, Dr Din Mohammad, Zafarullah, Attaullah, Abdul Qabeer, Mushtaq Rodani, Ali Hassan and Mohammad Iqbal.
Advocate General of Balochistan Amanullah Kinrani, FC Inspector General Obaidullah Khattak, the home secretary and Balochistan IG appeared before the court one by one to express their helplessness in recovering the missing persons.
“After six months of efforts by the court, the result is zero,” the chief justice said, adding that what answer “we will give to the affected families”.
“We appear to have reached a dead end where we have concluded that the writ of the state and the enforcement of fundamental rights under the Constitution have been undermined,” Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja said.
The FC chief submitted a report through his counsel Raja Muhammad Irshad. It said an internal investigation by the FC had established that the said missing persons were not in its custody.
“If the Supreme Court desires that the FC trace these missing persons then the force should be given police powers of search and investigation to proceed with the cases. Or as an alternative the court should order constitution of a commission and transfer of all cases to it for a deeper investigation and recovery of the missing persons,” the report said.
It claimed that in many cases insurgents dressed in FC uniforms committed high-profile acts of terrorism and heinous crimes, thus giving a bad name to this federal organisation. A number of such attacks had also been carried out in other parts of the country by miscreants and anti-state elements impersonating members of defence forces.
The report said the recent attack on the Pakistan Coast Guards’ checkpost in Pishukan, about 45km from Gawadar, had been carried out by militants in FC uniforms. The Balochistan Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the attack in which seven soldiers were killed.
According to the report, 59 FC personnel, two army soldiers, 39 policemen and 328 civilians had lost their lives and 646 suffered injuries in 829 acts of terrorism over the past six months.
Fifty-two attacks were carried out on gas pipelines, 18 on railways and four on electricity pylons. About 169 attacks were launched against the FC, 35 against police and nine against Levies.
Laskhar-i-Balochistan, a militant organisation, claimed responsibility for Monday’s bomb attack on a Chinese consulate in Karachi and also warned the Chinese and other multinational companies to stay out of Balochistan, the report said.
“Although personnel of our intelligence and law-enforcement agencies are doing their utmost and sacrificing their lives to defend and protect the country’s frontiers and its people against the onslaught of misguided militants, a malicious campaign has also been launched to malign and discredit the law-enforcement agencies, particularly the FC which is the only effective federal organisation operating against the menace of terrorism in the province,” the report said.