The Supreme Court has asked spy agencies to give a closed-door briefing on the violence in Balochistan, identify hostile areas and explain reasons for the unrest.
At a hearing on Thursday, the court further asked Balochistan’s chief secretary Ahmed Bakhash Lehri to give a report on the incidents of target killings and arrests of the accused over the past three years.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is hearing a petition filed by the Balochistan High Court Bar Association on the province’s law and order situation and target killings.
At a previous hearing, the Military Intelligence (MI) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had requested that they give an in-camera briefing on the Balochistan issue. The attorney general of Pakistan had told the bench that the ISI and MI wanted to brief the court in chamber, a request that the apex court finally accepted. Both top spy agencies have already submitted their classified reports on the matter.
The court observed that it was the duty of the police and politicians to keep the situation stable in Balochistan. Provincial IGP Rao Muhammad Ameen told the court that law and order is improving and the police have arrested some miscreants.
The chief justice noted the killing of two policemen in the province on Wednesday, while the chief secretary said he believed the law and order situation would be controlled. The situation might look stable on paper, but it is out of control on the ground, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked.
“Residents of the province are forced to migrate due to the worsening law and order situation, as their lives and property are not protected,” chief justice said.
Expressing concern over the closure of schools in Balochistan, Justice Chaudhry said that teachers were reluctant to perform their duties because of the prevailing insecurity, adding that the court should be informed in this regard as well.
On Tuesday, the court had advised the government to convene a grand Baloch jirga to restore order in the volatile province. Chief Justice Chaudhry had said that the chieftains of all tribes in the province, including the Bugti, Marri, Achakzai, Mengal and Raisani tribe, should jointly find a peaceful solution to the problem.
While dismissing the performance of government officials, the court reposed trust in the Baloch themselves. “The Baloch people are more loyal to the country than anyone,” Justice Chaudhry observed.
Domki family murder case
The court also expressed dissatisfaction over the Sindh police report regarding the murder of Mir Bakhtiar Domki’s wife and daughter in Karachi. Sindh police officer claimed that some progress had been made but could not be openly disclosed.
The court had tasked the chief of Sindh police to speed up investigations into the case. The court adjourned the hearing till April 3.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2012.