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Court hints at summoning Kayani in Balochistan case

12 June, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday hinted it could summon Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani over the worsening law order situation in Balochistan, and could ask him how the country should be run and what he can do in this regard.

The chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, remarked that the court could pass an order under Article 190 to summon the army chief. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by the chief justice, during the hearing of Balochistan target killings case, expressed annoyance over the press conference held by Frontier Corps (FC) Inspector General Major General Obaidullah Khan Khattak on June 2 regarding the deteriorating law and order situation of Balochistan, and sought the transcript of the news conference.

The court observed that it was not the business of a uniformed official to hold press conferences, and that the video of the FC IG's press conference would also be sent to the army chief and the defence secretary. The CJP observed that the situation in Balochistan was unstable, whereas the FC IG was holding a press conference, which is contrary to the court orders. He questioned whether the official was looking for a confrontation with the court.

The chief justice observed that situation of the province was alarming and that instead of moving towards improvements, the conditions there were deteriorating. He further said that three missing persons about whom he was informed, were killed and their bodies were thrown on the road. He noted that 20 people had been killed in the province during the past two to three days. The chief justice told counsel for the FC, Raja Irshad, that every other case was against FC and those who provide evidence against the force turn up dead. Justice Iftikhar told the counsel that the accused should be tried, not murdered.

Meanwhile, Irshad told the court that the press conference was held to highlight the acts of foreign agencies. Upon this the chief justice said that if foreign agencies were operating in Balochistan, the responsibility for dealing with them lay with the federal government.

The FC counsel said the foreign agencies are targeting the FC and the court is doing the same. Reacting to this, Justice Iftikhar remarked a video screened at the courtroom showed an FC vehicle taking part in an abduction. Under such circumstances, he asked, why should the FC chief not be held responsible for such activities. Justice Jawwad on this occasion remarked that some 835 incidents had occurred, but no one was caught. "We are neither the enemy of the agencies nor the agencies are our enemy, we are ready to give credit, but they must perform," he remarked.

Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir presented a report in the court pertaining to the province's missing persons. He said that details of 123 missing persons had been established and 23 had been recovered. He said the government appreciates the efforts of the court regarding Balochistan issue. Raza Kazim, the counsel for mobile phone companies, told the court that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had allowed issuance of only five SIMs per person, and the companies have spent $30 million to provide a tracking system to agencies, but they do not cooperate with the police. The court adjourned the hearing until June 19.


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