CJP Gulzar berates Balochistan IGP over missing persons

Published September 30, 2021
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed expressed anger at the Balochistan IGP over failure to recover Ali Raza who has been missing since 2013. — DawnNewsTV/File
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed expressed anger at the Balochistan IGP over failure to recover Ali Raza who has been missing since 2013. — DawnNewsTV/File

Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed berated Balochistan Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammad Tahir Rai on Thursday, questioning him over the "business of injustice" that was being operated which had "brought the country to the brink of disaster".

He made the comment during a three-member hearing of a suo motu case about targeted killings of the Hazara people and a petition seeking recovery of missing persons.

The wife of one of the missing persons, Ali Raza, informed the Supreme Court that her husband had been missing since 2013 while police had released the suspect in the case.

On hearing this, CJP Gulzar expressed anger at the IGP and questioned: "What is this — a person has been missing for seven years and police have not done anything?"

In response, the IGP informed the court that the case had been with Levies for three years.

"What did you do after you received the case?" the chief justice questioned. "Police have no interest in investigating. Do you know what investigation [even] means?" he thundered.

When the Balochistan IGP informed the court that the missing person would be recovered soon, CJP Ahmed expressed his reservations. "Why were you given the uniform? You do not care about anybody," he remarked.

Advocate general of Balochistan informed the court that the investigation would be completed if Ali Raza's family cooperated. Upon this, the chief justice observed that the families would only cooperate if they trusted government officials.

"Evidence of a crime disappears within 24 hours. The police keep waiting for [bribes] to start investigating. You (police) do not respect the sanctity of your uniform. The police do not do what they are assigned to do [but] start doing something else.

"A business of injustice is being operated. The country has been brought to the brink of disaster. Whichever suspect is brought to the [court] is acquitted because the investigation is incorrect," he further remarked.

4 missing persons recovered

During today's hearing, the province's advocate general informed the court that a first information report (FIR) had been registered on the SC's orders and four missing persons had been recovered.

The four people were present in the court, he added.

Chief Justice Ahmed questioned the people about who had kidnapped them. One of them replied that they could not identify the kidnappers as their faces had been hidden.

"The recovered people came back home by themselves, police did not take any action. The recovered people are not revealing the names of the kidnappers out of fear," the CJP observed.

"They say that if they share the names with the police, they will not be able to come back alive a second time. They do not trust state machinery," he further said.

One of the recovered people also told the court that the kidnappers had released them after driving them around in a car for three hours, following which they hitch-hiked their way home.

"What kind of enforced disappearance is [of] three hours?" the chief justice questioned. The person replied that they had been missing for three years and the kidnappers had "unnecessarily" driven them around in a car for three hours before releasing them.

On hearing this, CJP Ahmed asked the IGP, "What is happening in your province? You were unable to get people who were missing for three years to identify their kidnappers."

SC's orders

Adjourning the case for a month, the Supreme Court directed officials to recover and present Ali Raza at the next hearing and to ensure protection of Hazara community in Balochistan.

It ordered officials to arrest and present those who were involved in Raza's kidnapping, warning that irresponsibility by any security agency in recovering the missing person would not be tolerated.

In addition, the court directed officials to arrest those involved in the kidnapping of four members of the Hazara community who were recovered.

It also directed that members of the Hazara community should be compensated for the problems they faced in getting passports.

"The Balochistan government should deal constitutionally with extremist elements. The protection of every community in Quetta and Balochistan should be ensured," the court directed.

Last year, the Supreme Court had termed unsatisfactory a police report on targeted killings of the Hazara community as well as missing persons and rejected it.

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