All eyes are now on the Frontier Corps, as more and more fingers, however reluctant, are pointed towards them in ‘missing’ persons’ cases.
A two-member bench of the Supreme Court, hearing a case on missing persons, was informed by the police on Friday about a video showing the alleged involvement of the FC in missing persons’ cases in Balochistan.
DIG Operations Balochistan Police Hamid Shakeel informed the court of the existence of CCTV footage of a private hotel, where an FC vehicle picked up three missing persons.
The bench ordered him to present the video before it and warned that on failure to do so, the corps commander would be summoned.
During Friday’s proceedings, the court also gave a stern warning to Inspector General of Balochistan Obaidullah Khattak that strict action would be taken against him if he failed to show up before the court.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that it has been proven that the missing persons were picked up by the FC and regretted that the IG had not appeared before the court, despite summons.
The chief justice reminded that Khattak had been ordered to present missing persons during the last hearings. “Why haven’t they been brought before the court?” he said, and asked for the IG to tell exactly what time he would appear before the court.
FC Major Sohail said that Khattak was busy, to which the chief justice said: “This is the Supreme Court; not a joke.”
He further warned that the court would pass an order in case the IG failed to appear.
The bench ordered that three missing persons be presented before the court during its next hearing and summoned IG Police Balochistan and IG FC to the next hearing scheduled for May 14.
If the IG FC does not want to appear himself, he should at least present the three missing persons before the bench, the chief justice said.
The Balochistan advocate-general informed the court that the FC was under the control of the federal government.
The chief justice said that the federal government was not taking any interest in the affairs of Balochistan.
During a hearing on the case of Balochistan’s deteriorating law and order situation in Quetta on May 5, the Supreme Court was informed that the police registered cases against serving FC officials for their involvement in missing persons’ cases.
The police submitted the copies of the FIRs in which an FC major and colonel were nominated for allegedly abducting two persons from Khuzdar and Wadh.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain noted the considerable step, saying that earlier people were merely levelling allegations against security forces, whereas now a major and colonel have been nominated in FIRs.
However, Chief Justice Chaudhry remained unsatisfied with the slow progress and gave a final ultimatum to the police: recover missing persons in two weeks, or else face action under the Constitution.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.