Balochistan’s affairs not being run according to Constitution: Chief Justice
By: Muhammad Ejaz Khan
QUETTA: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday declared that there was a consensus that the affairs of Balochistan were not being run in accordance with the Constitution, asking what was left to mourn when the government was unmoved even after the murder of a sessions judge, and what could be a bigger failure of security agencies than the killing of seven people in one day.
The chief justice stated this while heading a three-member bench comprising Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawad S Khawaja, which is hearing a petition on the law and order situation in Balochistan at the Quetta Registry of the Supreme Court.
The chief justice asked how many more children would be orphaned, exhorting the Advocate General Balochistan Amanullah Kinrani to explain what had been done with regard to law and order in the province after July 31.
The advocate general said the number of missing persons had not increased and the recovery of dead bodies was also declining while progress had also been made in other areas, except kidnappings for ransom.
The chief justice said the people were migrating to the Punjab, Sindh and other areas because of the deteriorating law and order situation in Balochistan. He also inquired from the advocate general how many teachers had left the province after the killing of Professor Nazima Talib.
The chief justice remarked that neither Khuzdar nor the Bolan district of Balochistan were safe for people, while a sitting additional sessions judge had been gunned down in Quetta. He noted that both Sunnis and Shias were killed during the last six months, smuggled vehicles plied the city roads and people freely carried weapons while the police were least bothered about cracking down on vehicles with tinted glasses.
The chief justice asked who issued permits to these people: the agencies or the Home Department. He also asked the advocate general where the police were when the Frontier Corps (FC) was being given the police powers. The advocate general responded that the FC had been given the powers for a specific timeframe only.
The chief justice told the advocate general that he might arrange a visit of Quetta city for him so that he could see the no-go areas there. He also remarked that authorities were paying mere lip service to the law and order situation. The chief justice also inquired why the attorney general did not turn up in the court.
On the occasion, Justice Jawad S Khawaja said it displayed the seriousness of the attorney general that he did not appear in the court, adding it looked like the federal government knew nothing about the mess in Balochistan.
Taking notice of shoulder promotions in the Balochistan Police Department, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry directed the inspector general of police to withdraw shoulder promotions at once and submit a report in the apex court in this regard.
The chief justice inquired from the provincial police chief how many police officials were serving on shoulder promotions and why he had deviated from the court orders in this regard.
At this, Inspector General of Police Tariq Umar Khattab said that presently 58 police officers were serving in the province on shoulder promotions. The chief justice ordered their withdrawal and directed that no one be given shoulder promotions or acting charge and remarked that police officers should remove their badges before entering the courtrooms and then pin them after court proceedings. He ordered the provincial police chief to submit a report in this regard.
The chief justice also asked the provincial police chief about the officers who had been sent by the federal government to Balochistan. He said these officers should not be given mere office work.
Referring to the missing person’s issue, the chief justice wondered why the missing persons had not been recovered yet. He sought a report from the FC and police chiefs and provincial home secretary today (Tuesday). The chief justice said if they were not satisfied with the report, they would summon the federal secretaries for defence and law.