Law and order case: ‘Why is the Balochistan govt still in place?’

Published: November 1, 2012
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The chief justice sought a report from the federal govt on the steps it had taken to implement the court’s Oct 12 order. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

The chief justice sought a report from the federal govt on the steps it had taken to implement the court’s Oct 12 order. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

If there was some confusion regarding the fate of the current Balochistan government, the apex court’s remarks on Wednesday provided a little more clarity.

The Supreme Court questioned the constitutional status of the Balochistan government given that the court had observed in its interim order that it had lost the authority to govern the province.

Under what constitutional authority is the provincial government discharging its functions, the court asked during Wednesday’s hearing of the law and order situation and human rights violations in Balochistan.

Heading a two-judge bench, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry sought a report from the federal government on the steps it had taken to implement the court’s October 12 order. The order stated that the Balochistan government had failed to maintain the law and order situation, and directed the federal government to stop being a silent spectator and adopt appropriate measures to protect the lives and properties of citizens.

The court observed on Wednesday that the provincial government was violating the Constitution despite its October 12 order in the case. The chief justice asked how the government of Balochistan was still spending funds from the national exchequer despite the court’s interim order.

The court’s persistent questioning, however, led to an exchange of words between Attorney-General Irfan Qadir and the bench.

Expressing displeasure at the federal government’s lack of interest in the matter, the court stated that they had not received a fortnightly report regarding the law and order situation in the province from the interior secretary as directed in the order.

Furthermore, the court added, the federal government had failed as it was not providing assistance as per Article 148 (3) of the Constitution, which states that the federal government can intervene to assist authorities.

Qadir, however, argued that court had transgressed its limit while passing the interim order, adding that the government was considering filing a review petition against it. He further said that the court only remained concerned about Balochistan even though the crime ratio in Punjab was higher.

In response, Chief Justice Chaudhry reminded the attorney-general that they were currently hearing the Balochistan case, and, if he felt strongly enough about Punjab, he could bring up a case on it in court.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja further told Qadir that while a review petition was his constitutional right and they would entertain it whenever it would be filed, his focus right now should be on answering the court’s questions.

The court advised the attorney-general that it would be better for the federal government to file a statement in compliance of the court’s order, adding that the court could also pass another order restraining both governments from utilising the consolidated funds.

On the court’s orders, Balochistan Additional Advocate-General Azam Khattak read out the interim order’s para 48: “Unfortunately, in the instant case, the federal government, except deploying FC troops, has also failed to protect Province of Balochistan from internal disturbances. Similarly, as far as Provincial Government of Balochistan is concerned it had lost its constitutional authority to govern the province because of violation of fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan.”

Qadir argued that the government could not be dissolved like this, to which Justice Jawwad S Khawaja replied that the attorney-general had no authority on the matter, and the federal government should give an explanation in this regard.

The hearing was adjourned till November 2.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Jibran
    Nov 1, 2012 - 2:58AM

    And the circus continues!

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  • Jibran
    Nov 1, 2012 - 3:01AM

    Initially, bureaucracy took control of the country usurping all powers. Then it was the military. Next usurpers will be from the judiciary.

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  • Israr
    Nov 1, 2012 - 4:21AM

    @Jibran: You speak for a nation not used to the rule of law and justice for common man………………but, don’t worry, things are now changing and we are heading in the right direction although still a lot of lost time to make up for.

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  • Zainab
    Nov 1, 2012 - 4:29AM

    And what about the law and order situation in Karachi!

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  • bullS
    Nov 1, 2012 - 4:54AM

    and I thought 58(2)B was abolished

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  • Hamid Ahmed
    Nov 1, 2012 - 5:25AM

    @Israr:

    Justice for common man? two judges are hearing Baluchistan case, six are in Karachi harassing government there, others are hearing similar cases, please be specific which Judge of SC is working to deliver “Justice for common man”? Please wake up from your dreams, call a spade a spade, once we all do this things will get better. By the way, why these judges don’t look at Punjab? and why they get irritated if someone mentions Punjab? What about Arsalan and questions raised by Riaz Malik for CJP? What about Musharraf Reference? I admire the role AGP is playing, a brave man, history will remember him in good words.

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  • Nov 1, 2012 - 6:01AM

    @Jibran: A province of the country is about to break away and you’re worried about the intricacies of democracy and ‘judicial activism’. Good to see you’ve got your priorities right.

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  • basharat
    Nov 1, 2012 - 7:53AM

    The Attorney General is correct to contend that the Supreme Court has trangressed its costitutional limits while passing interim order about law and order situation in Baluchistan. The Court has no authority to observe that the provincial government has lost its authority to govern; the order, on the face of it, appears, to be ultra vires of the constitution.
    The Chief Minister can resign and can be removed by a vote of no confidence in the Provinciial Assembly by following the procedure contained in Article 136 of the constitution, resorting extra-constitutional measures in this behalf will further deteriorate the situtation.
    President´s powers under Article 232 (Emergency provisions) are subject to many restrictions. Warning the Federal and Baluchistan governments that an order restaining both the government from utilising the Consolidation Fund, if passed will creat a very serious constitutional chaos.

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  • A J Khan
    Nov 1, 2012 - 7:56AM

    The observation of the court that Balochistan Government has failed is correct, and they are not the only one who knows that, but there is a procedure for sacking the government. Where in the constitution, this power has been given to the courts to pack government???

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  • Babbarsher Khan
    Nov 1, 2012 - 8:30AM

    Have the impeachment clauses regarding justice/s of the apex court have been removed from the constitution altogether?

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  • Ali
    Nov 1, 2012 - 9:28AM

    Come on Federal people, hand over the Balochistan govt to that “special” someone who makes 90 million in only couple of years. Imagine the prosperity and stuff.

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  • syed imran
    Nov 1, 2012 - 10:09AM

    The Baluchistan and Sind Governments are not interested in protecting the lives of its citizens but only interested in Power Corridors and wasting public money. Both should be barred from using tax payer money for their own/party purposes.

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  • Nov 1, 2012 - 10:17AM

    Constitution needs another ammendment, renaming the post of CJ as Justice General of Pakistan.
    Fits well to the current circumstances.

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