Permits cancelled, crackdown within three days ordered -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Permits cancelled, crackdown within three days ordered

By: Saleem Shahid

QUETTA: The Supreme Court ordered on Saturday that a crackdown against illegal weapons and smuggled vehicles should be launched within three days and action taken against influential people involved in the crimes.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain issued the order while hearing a petition pertaining to the law and order situation in Balochistan, human rights violations and missing persons.

The chief justice directed the Balochistan chief secretary to inform the prime minister, governor and chief minister about the law and order situation and the issue of missing persons and apprise them that orders issued by the Supreme Court on the matter had not been implemented so far.

The defence and interior secretaries appeared before the bench on the order of the chief justice who had expressed his anger on Friday when the former returned to Islamabad without informing the court.

Defence Secretary Asif Yasin Malik said all permits issued by the intelligence agencies, including the ISI and MI, for carrying weapons and smuggled vehicles had been cancelled with immediate effect. The chief justice had ordered the cancellation of the `rahdaris’ and action against influential people who were using them.

The secretary said an order had been issued that strict action should be taken against those claiming to have the permits. A joint statement signed by the two federal secretaries, the chief secretary of Balochistan, inspector general of the Frontier Corps and the provincial home secretary and police chief was submitted to the court. It said joint efforts were being made that would yield positive results in the missing persons case.

The chief justice said the progress made by the law-enforcement agencies and other departments was not satisfactory and whatever the court was doing to bring things on the right path was in the country’s interest.

The bench noted that if there was credible proof against anyone he must be tried in the courts.

“We honour the working of the country’s intelligence agencies but there is a certain boundary and nobody should cross these limits,” the chief justice said.

After hearing the home secretary, he said that despite a claim by the provincial government no positive change in the law and order situation was being witnessed and recent killings of a sessions judge and an SP were evidence of failure of the law-enforcement agencies.

Justice Khilji said the situation had not deteriorated overnight.

“There is unanimity of view that the killing of senior politician Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti had led to the situation which the people of Balochistan are facing,” he said.

Justice Khwaja said it was not fair that even an FIR was not registered until the high court interfered and ordered police to do so.

When the chief justice asked Frontier Corps lawyer Raja Irshad where an FC commandant and a missing man, Kaho Bugti, were, he said the official was in Malakand and was coming by road after his leave had been cancelled and Kaho Bugti was not in his custody.

The chief justice asked why the FC official had not appeared during the hearing. He asked the lawyer to present the leave cancellation order and said a court martial of the officer could be held for not obeying the court’s order.

Raja Irshad expressed his inability to represent the FC anymore and said it should be represented by the attorney general because it was a federal force. The chief justice said it was the lawyer’s personal matter.

Advocate General Amanul-lah Kanrani informed the court that the federal law secretary was absent because he was busy with an Indian delegation in Islamabad and a list of the missing persons would be finalised in a few days.

The chief justice warned the officials that the United Nations delegation was on way to Balochistan to review the situation with respect to the issue of missing persons, therefore, they must improve their state of affairs.

“What will happen if the UN delegation visits the province and records the statements of the relatives of the missing persons?” he asked the advocate general.

The hearing was adjourned to Sept 19 when it will be held in Islamabad.