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Iftikhar Chaudhry
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. — File photo/Online

QUETTA, July 13: The Supreme Court ordered the inspector general of Frontier Corps on Friday to produce seven missing persons within 10 days. It also directed the authorities concerned to provide adequate security to people removing landmines in Dera Bugti and submit a report about the current situation in the district within a week.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawad S. Khwaja and Justice Khliji Arif Hussain is hearing a petition of the Balochistan Bar Association on the law and order situation and missing persons at the Quetta registry of Supreme Court.

Inspector General of FC Maj-Gen Obaidullah Khattak appeared before the court and submitted his reply to allegations abut the involvement of his force in disappearance of people in Balochistan.

The chief justice again expressed annoyance over non-production of missing persons and said there were serious allegations that the FC had illegally taken people into custody.

“All evidences are against the FC,” he said and asked Gen Khattak to tell his commandants to produce all missing people they had pick up. Otherwise, he warned, the court itself would take action and nobody could block the way of judiciary.

The CJP said the FC had conducted a raid in Totak area of Khuzdar district and picked up 36 people. Two of them were later found dead, while 14 were still in FC’s custody. He said the FIR showed that the two men had been killed in a staged encounter.

Justice Khwaja said a medical report also suggested that they had been shot from a very close range.

“The FC also picked up Ali Hassan Mengal and is now putting pressure on his father to withdraw his case,” the chief justice said. He warned the FC chief that an FIR would be registered against the officials concerned and they would be arrested if the court’s orders for recovery and production of missing persons were not implemented.

The FC chief submitted that he always desired the issue of missing persons permanently resolved. He said the operation launched in Totak was against elements inimical to peace. The FC also raided a ‘Firari’ (fugitive) camp in Kabo area of Bolan, but people operating it managed to escape.

Maj-Gen Khattak insisted that there was no missing person in the custody of FC Balochistan and said he had directed his commandant to provide adequate security to the family of Ali Hassan Mengal.

Justice Khwaja said there might be some black sheep in the force and the FC chief should initiate an inquiry against them.

“You know that some elements want to defame our state institutions and if the FC takes action against them it will increase its respect,” the chief justice observed. He said that according to the law the FC could not take action in any area without permission of the district administration.

The court asked Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai to ensure implementation of the Constitution and free movement of people in Dera Bugti.

The CJP observed that law and order had deteriorated after the killing of veteran Baloch nationalist Nawab Akbar Bugti. Mr Bugti was respected by everyone, he said.

He directed the authorities to recover two missing persons in Dera Bugti and said a delegation comprising representatives from the legal fraternity, civil society and media should be formed. Its members should be given access to Dera Bugti so that they could visit the area and submit a report on the current situation in the district.

The court also directed Dera Bugti’s deputy commissioner to submit a report on the law and order situation in the district. It asked the home secretary to take steps to remove landmines from Dera Bugti and submit a progress report.

The hearing was adjourned for July 24.