Emergency an option if PM fails to act on Balochistan: CJ Iftikhar
24 May, 2012
QUETTA: The chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, on Wednesday said constitution was being violated in Balochistan and if the prime minister says he is not responsible for restoring law then the constitution will take its way and emergency could be declared.
The chief justice ordered registration of a case against Balochistan Home Minister Mir Nasirullah Zehri. A three-judge bench of the apex court comprising the chief justice, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawad S Khwaja was hearing a petition on missing persons and law and order situation in Balochistan at Quetta registry of the Supreme Court. Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Khushnood Lashari and Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi appeared before the bench, however the interior secretary remained absent, over which the court expressed its strong resentment.
The chief justice told the prime minister's principal secretary if the prime minister does not want implementation of the Supreme Court's orders, other options, including emergency, were available in the constitution. Quoting former Balochistan advocate general Salauddin Mengal, the chief justice said the law and order situation was so grave in the province that not a single Pakistani flag could be seen even 10 miles outside Quetta.
He said the constitution should be implemented lest the army imposes martial law, and observed that the prime minister should take steps keeping in view the sensitivity of the situation. He said the court was ready to talk to Gilani for the sake of country; however, there was a case against him which was why it was being a little careful. Meanwhile, the defence secretary told the court she had talked with authorities of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) regarding Balochistan situation and missing persons, and ISI DG has said he was ready to brief the court in this regard.
During the proceedings, the chief justice said Balochistan situation was very serious, and nothing was being done according to the constitution, while people are pointing fingers at law enforcement agencies like ISI, MI and Frontier Corps for missing persons and extra-judicial killings. He added that the province is experiencing the menace of target killing, scholars are being killed, and there is zero development.
Justice Chaudhry expressed annoyance over the lack of interest of rulers in Balochistan and said courts would continue performing their duties even if government does not. He observed various areas of the province have become no-go areas and the deputy attorney general was not ready to write a single line to the federal government on the situation.
The bench remarked that until and unless the grievances of the people were addressed, dumping of missing persons' bodies is stopped, the situation could not be controlled. The court approved an application of prime minister's principal secretary seeking more time and adjourned the hearing until June 1.