QUETTA The Balochistan High Court on Thursday directed, through the ministry of defence, the country's two premier intelligence agencies to cooperate with the police in Turbat in investigations into the mysterious killings of three senior Baloch nationalist politicians in April this year.
The incident in which the three Baloch nationalists were abducted at gunpoint and subsequently assassinated had sent a wave of anger and disgust across the country, while Balochistan plunged into chaos and violence.
The killing of Baloch National Movement (BNM) Chairman Ghulam Mohammed Baloch and two fellow nationalists Lal Munir Baloch and Sher Muhammad Baloch had also pushed the province into an unprecedented wave of political violence and insurgency, with even relatively moderate Baloch groups starting to side with the extremists.
On Thursday a division bench of the Balochistan High Court, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, issued a notice to the federal secretary of defence, directing him to instruct the Military Intelligence (MI) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to cooperate with the police in probing the mysterious killings.
The clear directives from the bench were issued after a district police officer from Turbat, Rauf Khan Barach, submitted a report alleging that police were finding it extremely difficult to continue the probe because of non-cooperation by the officials of two intelligence agencies.
After the issuance of this notice to the federal defence secretary, the court adjourned the hearing till Oct 12.
Over the last couple of years, there have been numerous incidents of killing in clashes between Baloch militants and law enforcement agencies, infighting, target shootings of political opponents or those from rival ethnic groups.
However, the daylight abduction and brutal killing of the three Baloch nationalist politicians was both unique and mysterious.
All three of them were reportedly picked up at gunpoint from the office of a lawyer in Turbat. Three days later their partially decomposed bodies were found nearby, suggesting that perhaps they were shot dead within hours of their abduction.
Within no time Baloch nationalists, including one of their top leaders Sardar Akhtar Mengal, accused the intelligence agencies of abducting and assassinating them.
Even though the charge was immediately denied by a military spokesman, who advised the Baloch politicians against indulging in unnecessary blame-game, there was no let-up in demonstrations.
Soon the protest turned violent, claiming a number of lives in different parts of Balochistan.
Since then, a theory floated through unnamed officials was that the three slain politicians may have been victim of an internal conflict over the alleged distribution of a hefty ransom collected by the kidnappers of a UN official John Solecki.
One of the three politicians was said to be a member of the team that had negotiated the UN official's release, and was possibly aware of the amount that was paid to secure his release.
However, the report was immediately denied by many Baloch nationalists, who accused the authorities of sidetracking the 'real issue'.
Observers in Quetta think the next hearing of the suo motu case may make clear the extent to which the High Court was ready to go in instructing the authorities to probe the case and bring the culprits to justice.