QUETTA: Expressing strong resentment against no progress in the missing persons’ cases, the Supreme Court summoned top government officials to appear before the court today [Tuesday] and explain the allegations levelled against the country’s security agencies.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on Monday summoned the defence secretary, interior secretary, principal secretaries of the prime minister and the governor of Balochistan.
The Supreme Court Treasury Bench Quetta, while hearing cases pertaining to the deteriorating law and order situation in Balochistan, expressed grave concerns on the lack of progress in the cases of missing persons and observed that while everyone was blaming the security forces, evidence did exist against them.
“The defence secretary, interior secretary, principal secretaries of the prime minister and the governor of Balochistan should be prepared before appearing in court,” the chief justice advised the advocate general (AG) of Balochistan.
The apex court also expressed dissatisfaction on the report submitted by the province’s government on the existing law and order situation of Balochistan.
“There has been no progress in the missing persons’ cases and the situation is the same when we left Quetta after the last hearing,” the chief justice remarked. “The court will not tolerate any further drama on part of the government. The court has reached the conclusion that most of the issues [regarding the province’s deteriorating security situation] will be addressed by resolving the issue of missing persons.”
Justice Chaudhry contended that the court could summon the governor of the province and ask him the complete constitutional breakdown of the province.
AG Amanullah Kanrani informed the court that 16 missing persons were in official custody of the federal security agencies. “Whatever information you have regarding missing persons, share it with the court because we will issue the order tomorrow [Tuesday]. The report submitted by the provincial government does not show any significant progress.”
The court was informed that Abdul Zakir, who went missing on December 2010 from Mastung, had been recovered while two more persons gone missing from Marwar had also been recovered. As many as 25 people have so far surfaced but the police have failed to establish who kidnapped them and where they had been kept for so long, the chief Justice said.
The Supreme Court also directed the police and Balochistan Levies to investigate the kidnapping and killing of Abdul Qudos whose body was found dumped near a Bus Stop in Khuzdar. Qudos had gone missing on July 21, 2011.
DSP Amir Dasti said that most of the missing persons were either in Afghanistan taking training or hiding in the hills in Balochistan. “I raided a house of a lawyer whose son is missing. The mother told me that her son is in Afghanistan,” he said.
Dasti was also asked to show progress in the case of Shabir Sumalani, a boy in his early teens. “Shabir is the younger brother of a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) target killer,” he told the court.
He said police lacked the weapons and equipment to deal with target killers. “Two of my guards were killed recently and I am also on top of the hit-list of the LeJ. Members of LeJ, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and other groups have sophisticated weapons while we still have the fifty-year-old shotguns and pistols.”
The chief justice also directed the custom collector, excise department and chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to take action against all unregistered vehicles and motorcycles in Balochistan.
“Under the Custom Act, unregistered vehicles and motorbikes are not allowed to ply on the roads but in Quetta there are showrooms of non-duty paid vehicles in front of the custom office,” the bench observed.
The court gave a 15-day deadline to the concerned institutions and directed Balochistan’s chief secretary and home secretary to cooperate with the custom officials.
Kidnapping for ransom
Referring to kidnapping for ransom incidents, Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai informed the court that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and various other service providers were not cooperating with authorities to trace culprits and kidnappers.
According to the PTA, as many as 10 sims can be issued on one national identity card, which means one individual can get up to 60 sims given that there are a total of six sim providers in the country.
In response, the court ordered that action must be taken against sim providers if they do not follow the law and court orders. The bench also directed the director of the PTA to appear before the court on today.