The Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Wednesday ordered the provincial administration to allow the Internally Displaced People (IDP) of Bugti tribe to return to their homes in Dera Bugti after screening.
Jamhoori Watan Party’s (JWP) provincial chief Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti had filed a petition, stating that Bugti families were being stopped from entering their hometown – in violation of their fundamental right as a citizen.
BHC Senior Judge Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail ordered that local administration should set up a check post near Dera Bugti and rehabilitate 100 IDPs every day after the screening.
Advocate General (AG) Nazimuddin along with Dera Bugti’s Deputy Commissioner (DC) Shahzeb Khan Kakar appeared before the court and filed their para-wise comments.
“Show us under which provision of law, the movement of a Pakistani citizen is restricted,” the court asked.
“Before their return, the local administration wants to have their screening and verification so that no one should carry illegal arms, illegal vehicles or any prohibited items with them,” the AG said, adding that the local administration was not in a position to verify more than 50 persons a day.
The counsel for Shahzain Bugti, advocate Sohail Ahmed Rajput, agreed to cooperate with the local administration in respect of screening.
He said the number of persons to enter Dera Bugti, as suggested by the AG, was not reasonable. “The people can also be categorised into four to five groups so that the process is completed in a day or two,” he suggested.
The court said the Constitution specifically barred restriction upon lawful movement of a citizen and the local administration should allow the people of the area to enter the District Dera Bugti.
“The local administration must arrange a mechanism for the purpose of screening of the people and to establish a checkpoint near the Dera Bugti Town within two days. The screening process must be conducted every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and at least 100 IDPs must be screened within the specified ending time, i.e. 5:00 pm,” the court ordered.
It said if there was a possibility of screening more persons, the DC might allow further screening.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2014.
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