Apr 13, 2011

Balochistan: Pakistan’s Supreme Court Acknowledges Bad Security Situation

Pakistan’s chief justice laments the Balochistan regional government for not doing enough to improve the security in the region and not helping the relatives of the many missing people

Below is an article published by the Daily Times:

The Supreme Court [of Pakistan] on Tuesday [12 April 2011] rejected the plea of Balochistan advocate general for in-camera hearing of the case regarding worsening law and order situation in the province. 

The court directed the Balochistan Advocate General (AG) Amanullah Kanrani to submit report within two weeks about the steps taken so far to improve the situation. After repeated queries by the court about the elements and reasons behind the worsening law and order situation in the province, the AG said he could give an in-camera briefing to the court, but the court rejected his request, saying that ‘nothing would be in-camera now’. 

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani was hearing a petition filed by Balochistan High Court Bar Association president regarding the incidents of target killing, kidnapping for ransom and overall poor law and order situation in the province. 

The court also ordered Balochistan chief secretary to take instructions from the chief minister and appear before it after two weeks and explain what measures the provincial government has taken to protect the lives and property of the people. The apex court also directed the provincial government to recover the missing lawyers as well as a Zoroastrian (Parsi) woman. 

To a court query, Additional Advocate General Azam Khattak submitted that one of the reasons behind uncontrolled situation was lack of coordination between the institutions responsible for maintaining the law and order in the province. The court observed that if the situation is not controlled and law and order is not maintained, it will pass an order to this effect and the provincial government would be responsible for the consequences. Assisting the court, senior lawyer Abdul Hafeez Pirzada said the situation in the province was alarming. He said if the court holds that the government was not being run in accordance with the constitution and passes an order to this effect, the government would have to go. 

The chief justice noted that the families of the missing people of Balochistan have been camping outside Islamabad Press Club, but even then the government was doing nothing to help them. He observed that nobody was safe in the province and even the DIG’s house came under attack. “It is the duty of the state to protect the lives and property of the people”, he said. 

The petitioner Hadi Shakeel said the provincial government had failed to protect the lives and property of the citizens. He said people were not coming out of their homes due to the fear. Balochistan High Court Bar Association President Hadi Shakeel under Article 184(3) of the constitution had filed a petition in the apex court, praying that the provincial government should be directed to ensure protection of the life and property of the people of the province and take all necessary steps to end target killing, kidnapping, abduction for ransom and other crimes.