ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the notification under which governor’s rule had been imposed in Balochistan after three-day countrywide protests against the massacre of members of the Hazara Shia community.
A three-judge bench hearing a case related to law and order situation in the province asked at the onset of the day’s proceedings about the notification that had been issued by the federal government.
Balochistan Advocate General Amanullah Kinrani said his office had yet to receive a facsimile of the notification. It would be submitted to the court as soon as it arrived.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is hearing the case on a petition filed by the Balochistan High Court Bar Association’s president and vice-president.
Invoking Article 234 of the Constitution, the centre proclaimed governor’s rule in the early hours of Monday and removed the provincial government after Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf weighed all options after dashing to Quetta against the backdrop of the massive protest.
Thousands of Hazara people had been staging a sit-in on Alamdar Road in freezing cold along with the bodies of those killed in Thursday’s bomb explosions.
Balochistan government’s counsel Shahid Hamid, chief secretary and police chief did not appear before the court on Monday.
On the court’s enquiry, the advocate general said no arrest had been made for the killing of at least 87 people in the incident.
It appeared that the administration did not want to arrest the criminals, the chief justice observed. He asked about those responsible for recent killings taking place in Mastung and Quetta.
From day one the court had been asking for enforcement of the fundamental rights but nothing had been done in this regard, he said.
Police and the Frontier Corps (FC) were at each other’s throat instead of concentrating on improving the law and order situation, the court said, adding that scoresof people had gone missing in Balochistan but only a few had been recovered.
After a brief hearing, the court postponed further proceedings till Jan 29 and summoned a detailed report on the steps taken by the federal government and provincial authorities to improve the situation.
EX-SPEAKER’S PLEA: The Supreme Court also heard an appeal by Balochistan Assembly’s former speaker Mohammad Aslam Bhootani against the rejection by the BHC on Dec 31 of his challenge against the way he had been removed from his office.
His counsel Muneer A. Malik said Mr Bhootani had been removed the same day when the session of the assembly had been called, contrary to the requirement under the rules of business for at least seven days’ notice before tabling a no-confidence motion against the speaker.
He said the notice had been issued on Dec 19 and the resolution tabled and adopted the same day. His petition assailed the violation of rules in the summoning of the provincial assembly session, he said.
The court adjourned further proceedings till Jan 22 and sought the detailed judgment of the BHC.
The chief justice said the court was cautious not to issue any order that might culminate in creating chaos or a constitutional void.
“That was why in our Oct 12, 2012, order the court had only held the provincial government, not the provincial assembly, responsible for failing to control the law and order situation in Balochistan.”