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No one can manipulate polls in Balochistan: SC

16 February, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: Hearing the Balochistan target killings case on Friday, the Supreme Court gave a strong message to all the stakeholders of the country that no one would be allowed to manipulate the upcoming general elections in Balochistan.

Repeating its observations thrice, the court said that everyone in the province should be allowed to participate in the next general elections so that people could elect their representatives. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that the law and order situation in the province would definitely improve when the real representatives of people are in the provincial assembly.

The court also directed the provincial administration to take steps for the recovery of missing persons and arrest the people involved in kidnappings-for-ransom and target killings. The chief justice declared that it should be clear to all concerned that the court would not compromise on the missing persons' issue. He ordered the Balochistan administration to take action against the FC personnel if they are involved in kidnappings, and set an example.

Justice Iftikhar said that there was no need to get arrest warrants against the FC officials from a magistrate in a cognisable offence like kidnapping. He directed the police to immediately arrest the culpable FC men along with submission of challans in the courts. Shahid Hamid, counsel for the Balochistan government, told the court that a comprehensive strategy has been formulated to utilise the services of all the law enforcement agencies. The decision was taken in high-level meeting that was attended by the FC Southern Command inspector general and the intelligence agencies' officials.

The court was surprised by Hamid's remark that the FC and spy agencies' officials had complained that their efforts for improving the law and order situation were not recognised in the media. The court said that it was not its job to direct anyone in this regard. Meanwhile, the chief justice observed that it was not necessary to use force alone, as other options can also be used to control the situation. He said that the FC should be used as per the rules; otherwise the law would take its course.

CID DIG Feroz Shah submitted a report in the court about the recovery of disappeared persons. He said out of 87 missing persons 13 have been recovered. The court directed him to present them before the district and sessions judges for recording of their statements. Assuring its full support to Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Fateh Yaqoob, the court said, "We are here to help you. We are supporting you like anything." The provincial chief secretary and home secretary, meanwhile, informed the court about the step taken by the administration for the recovery of seven missing persons.

They stated that Nasrullah and Khan, two missing persons, in their statement to police alleged that they were in the custody of the FC. The court questioned how did the agencies keep them in custody without adopting the legal course. It ordered that the two missing men be recovered within two days and sought a report in this regard. The court also asked the top provincial officers who is not cooperating with them in handing over of the missing persons.

Meanwhile, Shahid Hamid told the court that a meeting was held between the provincial chief secretary and the Election Commission of Pakistan to include the name of IDPs of Dera Bugti in the electoral list. He said that the chief justice of Balochistan High Court had travelled to Dera Bugti, where a district and sessions court had been established.

The court asked them to adopt a strategy so that all the IDPs of Dera Bugti are repatriated safely and ordered the authorities concerned to create a conducive environment for holding of general election in Balochistan, besides restoration of civilian rule in Dera Bugti. Shahid Hamid also told the bench that 88 insurgency camps were operating in the province, while 38 camps had been established across the border. The case was adjourned till March 6.

End.

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