The Balochistan government got an official thumbs-down from the highest court in the land – which effectively adjudged the administration to be a failed one.
Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the Supreme Court announced in its interim order on Friday that the Balochistan government had failed in maintaining the law and order situation and protecting the lives and properties of its people, which is the principal constitutional responsibility of any set-up.
The provisional order in the Balochistan law and order case was passed at the Supreme Court’s Quetta registry, after months of hearings during which the court usually reprimanded the government for not taking any action in resolving the Balochistan crisis.
The court stated in its order on Friday that the Balochistan government could no longer be allowed to remain a silent spectator and directed it to adopt appropriate measures to end the sense of deprivation amongst people in the troubled province.
The order stated that mutilated bodies were being routinely recovered in Balochistan, and people were being killed on ethnic and sectarian basis, while the government failed not only in pointing out the culprits but also in taking any action against them.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of police in Balochistan, saying that the writ of the police could not be seen anywhere in the province. Unless the police’s writ is established in the province, peace will not be achieved.
Expressing its complete dissatisfaction over the government’s probe into enforced disappearances and target killings in the province, the court ordered the investigations to be handed over to Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the police.
The apex court also asked the government to expedite the process of compensating the families of missing persons, as directed by it earlier. The government should initiate a scheme for the sustenance of the affected families, the court order stated.
The court order further said that the Frontier Corps (FC) is blamed for alleged involvement in every third case of missing persons. However, it added, according to a report presented by the FC, 432 of its personnel had been killed and more that 604 were injured.
The court observed that not only civilians, but FC, police, Balochistan Constabulary and Coast Guard personnel were also killed in the province.
‘Involvement of secret agencies proven’
The involvement of intelligence agencies in the province has also been proven, the order stated.
“The interference in the affairs of the province of Balochistan by the secret agencies has also been prima facie … by allowing rahdaris to persons who keep plying smuggled vehicles without registration and without payment of customs duty,” the order read.
The court in its order barred all officials, including those from the Military Intelligence, from issuing ‘rahdari’ (transit) for the smuggling of arms and vehicles.
The government, it added, should take action against those found guilty of issuing rahdaris.
Advocate M Zafar told the court that four military operations were carried out in Balochistan, and Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in one of the operations which pushed the province to the situation it is in currently.
The chief justice, however, said, “We have to confine ourselves to the basic rights and they aimed at recovery of the missing persons and that how the life and property of the people could be secured.”
The court also directed in its order for the rehabilitation of more than 100,000 people who have been displaced from Dera Bugti and other areas, and also ordered the restoration civil administration in the areas.
The court adjourned the hearing till October 31 and ordered the Balochistan chief secretary to dispatch copies of the provisional order to all concerned departments and present a report before the court every 15 days, regarding its implementation.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2012.