Missing persons case SC summons Balochistan CM, home minister | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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Missing persons case SC summons Balochistan CM, home minister

Saleem Shahid

QUETTA: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has summoned Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani, Home Minister Mir Zafarullah Zehri and ISI’s sector in-charge on Thursday during hearing on cases relating to the issues of missing persons and dumping of bullet-riddled bodies. The order was issued on Wednesday when a Supreme Court bench comprising the chief justice, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Pervez continued proceedings on a petition on the law and order situation in the province and the missing persons issue.

The authorities concerned failed to present 12 people who had ‘disappeared’ from Quetta and Totak area of Khuzdar despite an order issued by the court to police and the deputy commissioner of Khuzdar on Monday to produce them on Wednesday.

“The chief minister, Balochistan, and home minister will have to assure the Supreme Court that under Article 9 of the Constitution, complete protection to life and property of people will be ensured by the government; besides that neither any citizen will be lifted or kidnapped nor any incident of killing and throwing of bullet-riddled bodies of missing persons will take place,” the CJ said in his order.

He said the court was astonished that no-one was ready to take responsibility of people’s security. He said the provincial authorities had been living in Islamabad instead of Quetta. They will have to be in the provincial capital to maintain law and order and ensure peace in the province.

He observed that seven or eight secret agencies were working in Balochistan but the federal government was not paying attention to the issue of restoring peace which had become a matter of great concern in the province.

“Among the senior authorities of the province, only the chief secretary is present in the court, while the governor and chief minister are out of the province despite the very serious law and order situation.”

He said that even if the provincial government was helpless it should be clear that the apex court was not helpless and it would fulfil its responsibility of swift and smooth dispensation of justice.

The chief justice said all relevant officials would have to ensure recovery of missing persons, otherwise they would have to submit before the court that they had failed to fulfil their responsibilities of providing security and protection to people.

“We can go to any extent for recovery of missing persons,” he added.

In reply to the court’s order for appearance of the Frontier Corps inspector general and provincial heads of intelligence agencies, the deputy attorney general said they could not appear before the court due to their important meetings on law and order.

Justice Khilji observed that houses of people were burning in the province but the officials were busy in their so-called meetings.

Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai and provincial police chief Rao Amin Hashim submitted that they could not ensure complete end to the throwing of bodies of missing persons because of lack of resources, but they would do their best to
ensure peace.

Deputy Inspector General of Frontier Corps Brig Farrukh Shehzad assured the court on behalf of his institution that efforts would be made to curb the incidents of dumping of missing persons’ bodies.

The chief justice said if the court could call the prime minister it could also summon the ISI sector in-charge. “ISI’s sector in-charge shall appear before the court on Thursday,” he ordered.

The chief justice told the home secretary and IG of police that two more bodies of people whose names were in the list of 62 missing persons submitted by the affected families had been found on Tuesday.

He inquired whether police asked the recovered missing persons who had picked up or kidnapped them. Justice Tariq Pervez said the court wanted to find solutions to all problems through the Constitution.

The chief justice said all were aware of those who had escaped from jail and people belonging to the Shia community were being targeted and killed.

He said it had been reported that some ministers were involved in kidnapping people for ransom. The court could no more tolerate such a situation, he said.

He said the relatives of missing persons had said in their statements before the bench that they had approached the apex court for the recovery of their loved ones and for the sake of justice but they were receiving their bodies.

He expressed anger over failure to find Dr Akbar Marri who had gone missing in 2010 and ordered payment of his salary to his family.