ISLAMABAD: After receiving long-awaited classified reports from the army headquarters and the country’s premier intelligence agencies on the security situation in Balochistan, the Supreme Court decided on Wednesday that it will continue hearing the case from March 20 – in Quetta.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, issued notices on Wednesday to Attorney General of Pakistan Maulvi Anwarul Haq, the Balochistan chief secretary and the advocate general of the province to appear before the court and brief it on the steps being taken to control the worsening law and order situation in the province.
The hearing, said the bench, will now take place in Quetta, the capital of the troubled province. The move is reminiscent of the apex court’s decision to shift proceedings of the Karachi target killing spree case to the port city.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the AGP handed over two reports to the chief justice – one from the General Headquarters and the other on behalf of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) – requesting that they be kept confidential.
The court returned the reports to the attorney general, directing him to submit them to the court registrar’s office in a sealed envelope.
After going through these reports, the court will decide whether to hear the case in a chamber (closed hearing) or in open court.
The court also asked the Sindh police to present a report before the bench regarding police investigations into the target killing case of Balochistan MPA Mir Bakhtiar Domki’s family in Karachi.
Furthermore, the chief justice said that the situation in the province is becoming increasingly worse as bodies are being recovered on a daily basis.
“Why does Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani not take interest in making improvements of the circumstances in his province,” the chief justice said, adding that areas such as Makran and Khuzdar are the worst-hit.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, another member of the bench, remarked, “As people spend terrifying sleepless nights, the ones responsible for calming them remain fast asleep.”
The chief justice suggested that a jirga of all disgruntled Baloch leaders, including Ataullah Mengal and Khair Bux Marri, should be convened to tackle the situation.
One of the amicus curiae, Amirul Mulk Mengal, former chief justice of the Balochistan High Court, said that no concrete steps were taken by the provincial or federal governments, adding that there is no writ of the state in the province.
He said that more than 50% of the incidents relate to domestic, rather than political, disputes.
Schools remain shut while basic facilities and employment opportunities for the youth are fleeting, he said, suggesting the formation of a reconciliatory body to control the situation. But he said that only the government could handle the situation.
The court asked him to give his suggestions in writing so that it could share them with the relevant authorities.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2012.