Among a number of refutations and counter-allegations, the Frontier Corps (FC) insisted that they did not have any more missing persons in their custody in Balochistan – but the chief justice was not buying this reply, or any other for that matter. The Supreme Court asked the FC to present the missing persons within a week.
During the hearing of the case on Tuesday, the FC continued to come under the fire of the court, with Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry restating that every third person who was missing was picked up by the FC. He asked the counsel of the FC why no action had been taken in refugee camps, where several missing persons are reported to be present. He posed the same question to Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob.
There were myriad excuses, but none seemed to satisfy the court. “The FC Chagai Commander should come tomorrow and tell me
where (missing person) Abdul Malik is.”
FC counsel Raja Irshad replied that every commander of the FC had informed him that not a single missing person was in their custody. When Chief Justice Chaudhry asked where he could possibly be, Irshad replied that the police had a more able network capable of investigating the matter, adding that the FC was ready to cooperate with them. The chief secretary said the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had also expressed its willingness to cooperate, and asked for time for the investigations.
The chief justice’s query was straightforward: In such an adverse situation in Balochistan, why weren’t the FC police and other agencies already working together?
Irshad also insisted that the FC has no enmity with anyone, and that charges levelled against it were a conspiracy. “Media persons are taking money,” the FC lawyer charged. The chief justice, however, would have none of it – “Don’t make allegations. We have evidence here against the FC,” he said.
Meanwhile, a defence department official also told the bench that the FC, as an institution, was not involved in any missing persons case and said the FC should be granted time for an internal inquiry. “It may be other people wearing FC uniforms and kidnapping people,” he said.
Law and order
Advocate General Kanrani also told the court that 101 people were killed in the province in June alone. “15 police personnel and 86 citizens were killed as a result of target killings,” the Advocate General said.
Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Mir Zubair Ahmed told the bench that police was facing a severe challenge in the provincial capital. “All kinds of people, including policemen, are being killed in Quetta,” the CCPO said and adding that a new strategy was being made to tackle the situation in the city. “The police is ready for any kind of sacrifice and our eyes are open,” the CCPO said.
The chief justice also referred to last week’s massacre in Turbat, blaming state institutions for negligence. “Pilgrims’ buses were attacked three times and the state functionaries are still not performing their duty,” the chief justice said, warning that the state was being challenged in Balochistan.
The chief justice also expressed dissatisfaction over police investigations into the murder of Akmal Raisani last year, nephew of Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani. No arrest has been made as yet.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2012.