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Tackle Balochistan issue in earnest, CJ asks govt

October 09, 2012


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

QUETTA: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry observed on Monday that the government should take the Balochistan issue seriously and come up with a workable solution to the crisis.

A three-judge bench comprising the chief justice, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif is hearing a petition of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association on the law and order situation and human rights violations in the restive province at the Quetta registry of Supreme Court.

The chief justice said Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s statement was encouraging that the army would support any solution to the Balochistan problem within the parameters of the Constitution.

The chief justice again ordered the federal government and the Frontier Corps to recover all missing persons and produce them before the court as soon as possible.

The court asked the deputy attorney general to submit by Oct 13 a detailed report on situation in Dera Bugti.

The chief justice said law-enforcement agencies should strictly adhere to Article 9 of the Constitution to ensure that the life and property of citizens were protected.

He said Baloch leaders Talal Bugti and Sardar Akhtar Mengal and now Balochistan Speaker Mohammad Aslam Bhootani had come to the court which showed how important the Balochistan issue was.

The chief justice said terrorism in Balochistan was not more serious than in Sri Lanka which had suffered a long civil war but now it hosted the World Twenty20 cricket tournament.

“We are passing orders patiently and with tolerance because we want democracy to flourish in the country, but we will have to follow the Constitution at any cost,” he observed.

The chief justice said there were an inquiry report and evidence against the Frontier Corps but it had failed to recover a single missing person. “We should not be forced to issue order to produce the missing persons within three days.”

The court expressed dissatisfaction over a report on non-registered and smuggled vehicles submitted by the customs authorities and ordered the Balochistan collector customs to appear before it on Oct 11.

He said Khuzdar was the most disturbed district in the province and, therefore, competent police officers should be posted there to control the situation.

The court asked the chief secretary and inspector general of police how many officials of the District Management Group (DMG) and police officers from other provinces had been transferred to Balochistan and ordered the IG to submit a report about their postings.

The IG informed the court that 30 police officers had been posted in Balochistan.

The CJP said there was relative peace in Pashtoon-dominated areas and, therefore, police officers from other provinces should be posted in the troubled areas of Balochistan.

Advocate General of Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani informed the court that crime had declined by 50 per cent in Quetta. Speaker Aslam Bhootani informed the court that no-one was happy with the law and order situation in the province. But, he said, the chief secretary and inspector general of police were honest officials and owned “responsibility of our failure”.

The Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party filed a petition about target killings and alleged embezzlement of government funds which was accepted by the court.

Senior lawyers Munir A. Malik, Raja Salman, M. Zafar, Shakeel Ahmed Hadi and Sajid Tareen recorded their statements on the law and order situation in the province.

APP adds: The chief justice said that despite court orders, the Balochistan government had failed to curb target killings, kidnappings for ransom and other heinous crimes.

The court asked the chief secretary why the families of slain Nawab Akbar Bugti and thousands of other displaced Bugtis could not be rehabilitated in their ancestral town.

The chief secretary said steps were being taken to bring Dera Bugti on a par with other districts of the province with resumption of education and other activities. “We will welcome the family of late Nawab Akbar Bugti if they return to their hometown.”

When the court asked the Dera Bugti deputy commissioner who was running the affairs in the district, the official said the Frontier Corps and Levis kept an eye on elements opposed to peace.

“Irrespective of the circumstances the provincial government shares with court, we have reached the point that Dera Bugti has been left to the mercy of Frontier Corps,” the court observed. The hearing was adjourned till Oct 12.