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Judiciary supports democratic system, says CJ

January 29, 2013

Supreme Court of Pakistan. — Photo by AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Tuesday said the judiciary supports democratic system in the country and directed the Balochistan government to ensure people’s representation in the forthcoming general elections.

A three-judge bench comprising the chief justice, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Shaukat Azmat Saeed resumed hearing of a constitutional petition moved by the Balochistan High Court Bar Association regarding law and order situation in the province.

During the proceedings, the chief justice appreciated improvement in law and order situation in Balochistan.

“Democratic system should not be derailed at any cost. One thing we will say that there should be continuity in the democratic order.”

Advocate Shahid Hamid, representing the Balochistan government apprised that the situation was improving in the province and efforts are underway to improve it further.

He said that about 400 mutilated bodies had been found in the province so far, adding that the situation has improved and during January 15 to January 27, no such case has been reported.

He admitted during the mentioned period, about 28 people lost their lives in different incidents, yet no case of mutilated bodies, target killings or missing persons has been reported.

The CJ said that the court is only concerned with the safety of citizens under article 9 of the constitution which should not be ignored at any cost.

The counsel said that the rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) is also underway.

City Police Officer Zubair Ahmed informed that there had been some progress on the recovery of missing persons.

Chief Secretary Balochistan Babar Yaqoob Fateh apprised that the posting and transfers in the province are now being made purely on merit, adding that all the departments are also asked to provide details of their staff.

He further stated that 427 cases of missing persons have been dispatched to concerned departments for investigations.

He said the provincial government has also increased compensation money to the aggrieved families of terrorist incidents from Rs 400,000 to Rs one million and the compensation process for the families of Hazara tribe and others have also been commenced.

Regarding IDPs, he said after advertisements in the press by the provincial government, they have received 18,205 claims and now the government is analyzing only the genuine cases.

The chief justice said the court desires that people of Dera Bugti and Mari districts should exercise their right to franchise in the upcoming general elections and this is the provincial government’s responsibility to take concrete steps for the purpose.

“True representatives should come in the elections and only genuine people should be enrolled in electoral lists. This is the only way to improve the situation and solve the problems faced by the people,” the CJ maintained.

Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief Talal Akbar Bugti, appearing in person, claimed that a total of 144,000 people had been displaced from Dera Bugti.

He warned if situation did not improve in Dera Bugti then holding of elections in the district would not be possible.

The CJ remarked that they would not comment upon the steps taken by the federal government recently under the constitutional provisions.

“But all and sundry should take steps to ensure conducting of elections timely as we favour democratic system everywhere in the country.”

Later, the bench adjourned hearing till February 15.