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The court said it had failed to understand why the federal government was not playing its role in containing the situation through a meaningful coordination with the provincial government. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered Attorney-General Maulvi Anwarul Haq on Friday to seek an audience with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and convey to him people's concern over the precarious law and order situation in Balochistan.

A three-judge bench that had taken up a petition moved by Balochistan High Court Bar Association president Hadi Shakeel asked the attorney-general to apprise the court about the outcome of his meeting with the prime minister in three days.

The bench said the director-general, Inter-Services Intelligence, should also take up the burning issue with the prime minister and told an ISI officer present in the court-room to communicate the court's desire to him.

In its petition, Mr Shakeel had sought the court's direction requiring the government to protect the life and property of the people of Balochistan by taking steps to curb the incidents of target killing and abduction for ransom. According to the petition, at least 5,000 people are missing in Balochistan.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani asked Interior Secretary Chaudhry Qamarzaman to appear before the court on March 2. The court also summoned the Chief Secretary Balochistan, Inspector-General Frontier Constabulary, Director-General Levies and Director-General Military Intelligence.

“We do not want to mention in our order that there is a complete break down,” the court said.

“Not only the provincial administration under the constitutional dispensation is responsible for maintaining law and order in the province but the federal government at the same time can not shrink the responsibility of providing security to life,” the court said in its order after proceedings, emphasising that the federal government had to play an effective role in controlling the situation in Balochistan.

Under Article 9 of the Constitution (security of person) it is the prime duty of the provincial as well as the federal governments to protect lives and properties of people, the order said, deploring the law-enforcement agencies seemed to be helpless.

The court said it had failed to understand why the federal government was not playing its role in containing the situation through a meaningful coordination with the provincial government.

Referring to Balochistan Advocate-General Salahuddin Mengal, the court asked him could he dare to travel through Bolan Pass and did he comprehend the consequences of such a situation in the province?

Justice Sair Ali said what he gathered from the reports submitted by the inspector-general police and the home secretary that they were helpless, doing nothing and could not do anything.

“We heard of attacks on gas installations, attacks on IGP, the chief minister and the governor,” the chief justice said, adding it was not the time to sit idle with our fingers crossed.

In his petition, Mr Shakeel cited instances of brutal murders of Habib Jalib Baloch, who was killed in front of his house on July 15, and Zaman Marri, who was killed on Sept 7.

On Sept 14, the petitioner said, three people were abducted by the personnel of law-enforcement agencies and the body of Sher Ali Kurd advocate was found in Khuzdar on Sept 24.

Throughout Balochistan, he said, nobody considered himself to be safe or protected. Hardly a day goes by when incidents of targeted killing, kidnapping and abduction for ransom are not reported, he added.