Balochistan govt faces SC axe
01 November, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Hearing the Balochistan target killing case, the Supreme Court raised serious questions on the legal status of the provincial government and sought explanation from the federal government as under what constitutional authority the Balochistan government is discharging its functions after October 12.
On the other hand, the Balochistan additional advocate general requested that due to the provincial cabinet meeting on Wednesday in Quetta, the case be adjourned until Friday (tomorrow), enabling him and the government to explain the constitutional authority of the provincial government after the interim order of October 12.
Once again, the attorney general of Pakistan strongly disagreed with the SC, saying the court had transgressed its limits while passing the interim order and stopping the functioning of the government.
It is to be noted that the court in an interim order on October 12 held, "Unfortunately in the instant case – Balochistan law and order – 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."
The court had also directed the Balochistan chief secretary and interior secretary to furnish fortnightly reports. Balochistan Additional Advocate General Azam Khattak on behalf of the chief secretary submitted the report on Wednesday before the two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
During the hearing, the Supreme Court, expressing displeasure over the federal government's lack of interest in the matter, stated they had not received fortnightly reports on the law and order situation in the province from the interior secretary as had been directed in the order.
However, Attorney General Irfan Qadir assured the court the report would be filed. The court said he may do so and in the meanwhile should also submit as to which steps – under Article 148(3) – had been taken by the federal government after passage of the interim order.
The federal government, the court said, had failed as it was not providing assistance as per Article 148(3) of the constitution under which the federal government could intervene to assist authorities.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir argued that a review petition had been filed against the interim order, adding that while the crime ratio in Punjab was more than that in Balochistan, the court remained worried about Balochistan.
Upon this, the chief justice said currently the Balochistan hearing was underway and if the AG felt so strongly about it, he could bring up the Punjab case in court. The CJP said the government of Balochistan had failed to enforce the constitution, adding after the interim order, it could not continue to spend funds from the national exchequer.
"How is it [Balochistan government] still operating? It should have been dissolved," he said.
On the court's orders, Additional Advocate General Azam Khattak read out the interim order's para 48. Qadir argued the government couldn't be dissolved like this, upon which Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked the AG had no authority on this matter and the federal government should give an explanation.
The court on the request of Azam Khattak adjourned the hearing until Friday (tomorrow), who said the provincial cabinet meeting took place on Wednesday.