Recovery of missing persons key to resolving issue: SC
QUETTA, May 22: Expressing dismay over non-appearance of the secretaries of defence and interior and principal secretary to the prime minister before it on Tuesday, the Supreme Court observed that it appeared the government, police and law enforcement agencies had no interest in recovering the missing persons.
The court had on Monday summoned these officials, along with principal secretaries to the governor and the chief minister of Balochistan, to explain why the court’s orders had not been complied with so far.
Only Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Hafiz Basit appeared before the court on Tuesday.
Deputy Attorney General Malik Sikandar Khan informed a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawad S. Khwaja that he had resigned from his post, but he had conveyed to the officials concerned the court’s orders to appear before it in person.
The bench is hearing a petition on the law and order situation and human rights violations in Balochistan at the Quetta registry of Supreme Court.
Provincial Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, Home Secretary Nasibullah Bazai, the acting IG and Advocate General of Balochistan Amanullah Kanrani attended the hearing.
The chief justice directed the authorities concerned to recover all missing persons at any cost, including Zakir Majeed. “About 60 per cent problems being faced by Balochistan can be solved by safe recovery of missing persons. But it seems that the government, police and other agencies have no interest in the issue,” he observed.
The chief justice said people were blaming the Frontier Corps (FC), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) for 80 cases of missing persons, but no steps had been taken by the government to resolve this burning issue which was the main cause of deteriorating law and order situation in the province.
“There are proofs about the involvement of these agencies and some of these have been shown to the inspector general of FC,” the CJP said.
Deputy Inspector General of Frontier Corps Brigadier Farrukh Shahzad denied that the FC was involved in the kidnapping of people and assured the court that if any of its personnel was found involved in such crime he would take responsibility for it. “Non-appearance of the officials concerned before the court shows that the federal government and other institutions are not interested in finding a solution to the Balochistan issue,” the court observed.
The chief justice rejected a police report about disappearance of Qari Saeed-ur-Rehman and summoned National Crisis Management Cell chief Brig (retd) Javed Iqbal on Wednesday.
He ordered the FC inspector general to appear before the court and reply to allegations about the involvement of his force in the kidnappings.
Justice Khilji asked the deputy attorney general: “Do you think that problems being faced by 170 million people will be solved by 17 judges.
Why others are not fulfilling their responsibilities to solve these problems?”
The chief justice asked the DAG: “Are you helpless and cannot do anything?” DAG Malik Sikandar did not reply to the questions and submitted his resignation to the court. He said that till the appointment of a new DAG, he would represent the federation.
The chief justice said he should not represent the federal government after resignation. “The court wants implementation of its orders, and not lip-service,” the CJ said. He said Chief Minister Nawab Raisani should have appeared before the court in connection with the cases relating to law and order situation and missing persons. “Chief Minister Raisani should have sacked six ministers of his cabinet after the statement of his (home) minister against them (about their involvement in the kidnapping of people).”
The chief justice said: “The situation in the province is alarming as target killing, forced disappearance and throwing of bullet-riddled bodies continue and relatives of the missing persons are crying outside the court.”
He said the FC was a fighting force and it should have come forward for maintaining peace and order in the province, but its performance appeared to be “zero” as people were being kidnapped in broad daylight.
Brig Shahzad, the DIG of FC, said all efforts would be made to recover Abdul Khaliq and Rub Nawaz, along with their vehicles. He said the FC was providing security in several mining areas, including Marwar, at the request of mine owners because they were receiving threats.
“We want to save Balochistan, make efforts to resolve the issue, recover missing persons and restore peace and order in the province. Come forward and make collective efforts to find an amicable solution to the problem,” the chief justice said.
He asked the Joint Director of Intelligence Bureau, Khalid Ahsan, to cooperate with police in their action against illegal vehicles and tracing out phone calls of criminals. He also directed the IB to collaborate with police to recover Abdul Khaliq, who went missing on May 4.
The court ordered the establishment division’s joint secretary to issue a notification making it binding upon officials to join their duty in Balochistan. They have been transferred and posted in the province, but have yet to join their duty.
“Salary of the officials should be stopped if they don’t join their duty,” the chief justice said.
The court also recorded statements of relatives of the missing persons. The hearing was adjourned to Wednesday.