Hazara town carnage: SC questions role of intelligence agencies

Published: February 20, 2013
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“Just go and get this Lashkar-e-Jhangvi," says CJ chaudhry. PHOTO: FILE

“Just go and get this Lashkar-e-Jhangvi," says CJ chaudhry. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Raising serious doubts over the competence of intelligence agencies, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said that maintenance of law and order in Balochistan was both the responsibility of the federal as well as the provincial government.

“Just go and get this Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. I am at a loss to understand why the law enforcement agencies have been unable to arrest these people,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

“I want to know the reasons why this incident happened again. Was it their failure?” he asked, referring to the country’s federal and provincial intelligence agencies.

The country’s top court, taking sou motu notice of Saturday’s Quetta carnage that killed over 80 people said that intelligence agencies failed to gather and share information with law enforcement agencies. This in turn resulted in the loss of several lives.

Not satisfied with the response given by the federal secretaries for interior and defence on the failure of the intelligence agencies to curb terrorist attacks in Quetta, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked the government to submit a detailed report assessing the competence of the intelligence agencies by today (Wednesday).

The three-member bench, comprising the chief justice as well as Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, in its order stated that the copy of the ruling should be sent to the president, prime minister and governor of Balochistan and they may respond to the court’s observations through the attorney general (AG) of Pakistan.

Earlier in the day, the bench had taken suo motu notice of the brutal killings of members of the Shia Hazara community in Quetta. Following country wide protests, the Supreme Court summoned Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddique Akbar and Defence Secretary Lt General (retd) Asif Yasin Malik to submit an investigation report on the killings.

When the court took resumed the hearing after a break, the two secretaries could not satisfy the chief justice why the country’s premier intelligence agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Military Intelligence (MI), Special Branch of Police and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) failed to gather information and intelligence about who had been carrying out terror attacks targeting the Hazaras with impunity.

The interior secretary informed the court that the federal government had replaced the Balochistan Inspector General of Police and Mushtaq Sukhaira had been appointed the new chief of the provincial police. He added that the director of IB had been transferred and IB Quetta’s deputy director had been suspended for failing to collect and share intelligence.

He said after a meeting with Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had sent a parliamentary delegation alongwith representatives of the Afghan government to Quetta to negotiate with the protesting Hazara families.

Meanwhile, the defence secretary said he did not get enough time to collect reports from the intelligence agencies from Balochistan and could submit comprehensive details if given time.

The chief justice asked how a tanker loaded with over 800 kg of explosives could enter a crowded area without being checked by any one despite the fact that the FC had its check posts in the area.

Justice Chaudhry stated had the intelligence agencies and law enforcers simply combed the city and surrounding areas after the January 10 blast, the second colossal attack could have been averted.

The chief justice observed that if the secretaries failed to satisfy the court on the question of why the intelligence agencies failed to have information before the terrorist attacks and their competence to follow the terrorists and help the law enforcers arrest the culprits, the apex court could ask the chief executive of the country to appear before the court.

The bench adjourned the hearing until Wednesday and directed the intelligence agencies to submit their reports.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Paco Osuna
    Feb 20, 2013 - 3:53AM

    I hated Chaudhry but slowly am getting inclined towards him !

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  • Feb 20, 2013 - 4:11AM

    Finally sir you have asked the question what the nation has been asking for months now. Well at least better late than never. Kindly stop taking suo motos now and please instruct relevant authorities to do something

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  • yahya warraich
    Feb 20, 2013 - 5:22AM

    I think chaudhary iftikhar is the only SUPER MAN in this country who is trying to stand against every evil. Somehow he is successful but he is just alone.

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  • cautious
    Feb 20, 2013 - 5:44AM

    Seems to me the judiciary (ie SC) deserves a share of the blame for the Quetta debacle as well as the overall lack of security in Pakistan. Perhaps they spend too much time chasing headlines, pontificating the obvious, etc instead of cleaning up the corrupt judiciary and sending the “bad guy” to jail. Yeah the executive, military and intelligence branches deserve to be criticized but that hasn’t accomplished a darn thing so far so maybe CJ should change tactics and do something that actually helps the people of Quetta – give the bad guys jail time and keep them locked up.

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  • iLiberal
    Feb 20, 2013 - 7:15AM

    I question the role of the honourable SC for releasing the likes of Malik Ishaq back in the society. You sir, are equally to be blamed.

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  • I. Ahmws
    Feb 20, 2013 - 9:30AM

    Sir, the reason the so-called intelligence agencies are not bringing LeJ to justice is because SC will set them free on one pre-text or another, that is what SC did in 2011, 2012.
    And if you are pointing towards army intelligence agencies, then it is obvious the government is happy to ‘protect’ them as you hate them, I am sure you have heard the phrase, my enemy’s enemy is my friend. Case closed!

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  • syed Imran
    Feb 20, 2013 - 9:38AM

    There is no Anti Terrorism law in this country and the SC demands from security agencies to produce fool proof evidennce if a terrorist is really a terrorist and then —— he goes scot free as no one takes the risk of giving evidence.
    Today Army is being treated as an anti state organisation,however, blaming Army or its agencies is an open invitation to the foriegn agencies to work without check in this country.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Feb 20, 2013 - 9:50AM

    First you snab them and then you question them,mostly the intelligence organization are infested with confused religious mind set therefore feeling difficulty in discharging duties in the national interest specially their bosses.So total confusion Mr CJP,first everybody has to develop nation spirit in him then direction will change.Biased or Softness towards genocide rs will not bring peace they are fulfilling not yours but of their international financiers.

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  • Usman
    Feb 20, 2013 - 10:15AM

    @TightPatloon: We have to learn to demand answers from the civilian rulers, not the Army Chief or the Chief Justice. Why can’t we stop pretending to live in a democracy and actually learn how to live in one.

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  • Praful R Shah
    Feb 20, 2013 - 12:12PM

    It is strange no one seems responsibe? Why these guys are paid?

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