Change through polls only: SC
30 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Tuesday observed that the democratic process must continue in the country under all circumstances and change should be brought only through elections.
Expressing anxiety over the consequences of imposition of governor's rule in Balochistan, the provincial government's counsel, Shahid Hamid, told the Supreme Court that a constitutional crisis might occur over the formation of caretaker government in Balochistan. He said that the caretaker government would be formed with consultation of leader of the House and leader of opposition.
Hamid noted that all the provincial assemblies would be dissolved on the advice of the chief ministers under Article 112 of the constitution, but how would the Balochistan Assembly be dissolved in the present situation. The court directed Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad to ensure that people in the province could exercise their right of franchise in the general elections.
A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed was hearing the petition regarding the worsening law and order situation and target killings in Balochistan. The court directed the Balochistan chief secretary to ensure rehabilitation and settlement of about 250,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Dera Bugti and Kohlu districts in order to enable them to participate in the forthcoming general elections.
Nawabzada Talal Bugti, who appeared in person in the court, pleaded that efforts should be made for the rehabilitation of around 250,000 IDPs of Dera Bugti before the general elections. He told the court that voter lists in Dera Bugti and Kohlu district have not made in transparent manner, and that a good number of voters have not been interred in electoral lists in both the districts. Similarly, he contended that they have not been provided security while moving from one place to other.
The court directed the provincial chief secretary to address the issues pin-pointed by Bugti. Chief Secretary Fateh Muhammad assured the court that these issues will be addressed in accordance with law, and added that the issue of voter lists has already been taken up with the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The chief justice said that the court was confident that the election commission will ensure that the process of registering the voters of Dera Bugti, Kohlu and Mari districts in the voter lists would be transparent in order to enable the citizens of these districts to exercise their right of franchise in the forthcoming general elections. Justice Iftikhar also directed the chief secretary to ensure that the civil administration and rule of law prevails in Kohlu and other districts without any discrimination, and the citizens living there must have their fundamental rights as citizens in other districts.
Counsel for the Balochistan government and provincial Advocate General Amanullah Kanrani also appeared before the court and placed on record progress report over the law and order situation in the province from January 15 to January 27, 2013. DPO Zubair Mahmood also appeared in the court in connection with the arrest of those accused of kidnapping for ransom, and provided details of the police officials arrested.
Shahid Hamid told the court that a committee has been set up to compensate the heirs of the people whose mutilated bodies had been recovered, adding that the committee will also compensate the heirs of people who had fallen victim to target killings in the province, particularly those of the Hazara community. The court has adjourned the hearing of the case till February 15.