The Supreme Court on Monday asked Inspector General of Balochistan Tariq Omar Khitab to submit a list of people who lost their lives in targeted attacks in the restive province during the last six months.
Expressing concern over the recent spate of ethnic and sectarian violence in Pakistan’s largest province, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked Khitab why the Frontier Corps had been delegated policing powers, despite being accused of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Khitab maintained the police were short-staffed with at least 58 posts lying vacant in the province. “Officers are not available and that is why we are doing shoulder promotions.”
Chaudhry said the need to employ more policemen should be given in writing to the administration and shoulder promotions completed within a day to expedite the process of strengthening the force.
The chief justice also asked Advocate General of Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani to apprise the bench of the law and order situation from July 31 onwards.
“There was peace from July 31 till August 26 with no increase in either the number of missing persons or the recovery of mutilated bodies,” Kanrani told the bench during the Supreme Court’s hearing at its Quetta registry.
Unimpressed with the answer, the chief justice while referring to last week’s attack on Zulfiqar Naqvi shot back, saying, “Do you know a sessions judge was killed in the city?”
The advocate general, however, reiterated his earlier views saying violence escalated every time the bench visited Quetta. Justice Chaudhry said it was Kanrani’s responsibility to find out who was behind the deadly attacks and not use the bench’s visit as an excuse for unabated bloodshed.
When asked to comment on the recent sectarian killings, Capital City Police Officer Mir Zubair said Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had claimed responsibility for the attack that killed district judge Zulfiqar Naqvi, his guard and driver.
The police officer added the force had raided different areas following the attack and had arrested two suspected suicide bombers Qasim and Waqas.Deliberating over the use of unregistered and smuggled vehicles, the chief justice said keeping a check on such cars was crucial in establishing peace in the province.
Federal Board of Revenue Chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem alleged that intelligence agencies were the ones giving octroi duty, which is a tax paid on various articles brought in a certain district for consumption, for these illegal vehicles.
(With additional input from online)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2012.
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