ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has given the Attorney-General a three-day deadline to submit a report on measures taken by the government to improve the law and order situation in Balochistan.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked the government to take practical steps to improve law and order. A petition filed by President of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association Hadi Shakeel held the executive responsible for its failure to protect the life, liberty and property of citizens and maintain their dignity in terms of Articles 9, 14 and 24 of the Constitution.
There are more than 5,000 cases of ‘forced disappearances’ in Balochistan. Security agencies, Shakeel said, “have lost the control of the law and order situation (in the province).
The court has directed director-general of the Military Intelligence, Inspector-General Frontier Corps (FC) and heads of other security agencies to submit a detailed response on the law and order situation in Balochistan.
The bench urged the attorney-general to apprise the prime minister about the lawlessness in Balochistan and incorporate his remarks in the court’s record.
“The writ of the government is severely challenged in Balochistan and it is dangerous to travel in the province,” remarked Justice Sahir Ali.
The chief justice observed that the situation appeared to be spinning out of control, which would have dire consequences in the future.
In their reports submitted before the court, the provincial home secretary and the IG Police, Balochistan, expressed their inability to cope with the situation in the province.
Additional Advocate-General Balochistan Azam Khattak said that some elements wanted to destablise the province.
The chief justice remarked that instead of competent officers, ‘blue-eyed’ officials were being appointed in Balochistan.
The petition maintained that targeted killings and kidnapping for ransom in Balochistan routinely appeared in the media, but the government failed to curb the rising trend of violence and crime. A senior lawyer, Habib Jalib was recently murdered in front of his house.
The petition was filed in pursuance of Article 184 (3) of the Constitution which states that the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to entertain cases related to the enforcement of fundamental rights.
Expressing concern over the abduction of three lawyers, the chief justice asked if the provincial government had taken any steps for their recovery.
Khattak said he has not yet received the IG’s report.
The court reissued notices to security agencies, who have so far not submitted para-wise comments. The hearing was later adjourned till March 3.
Shakeel had made the chief secretary and the IGP Balochistan, federal interior ministry and provincial home ministry, Inter Services Intelligence, MI, Intelligence Bureau, inspectors-general of the Frontier Corps and Levies respondents in the petition.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2011.
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