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Quetta carnage: SC rejects ISI report

20 February, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan, while hearing suo moto notice case of Hazara killings in Quetta, rejected ISI report and ordered secretary defence to submit it again, our sources reported.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing the case here Wednesday.

The chief justice in his remarks said police should have information about activities in their respective areas.

Defence Secretary Asif yaseen Malik presented report and said intelligence information on everything at every time is not present, agencies make a comprehensive report after combining small and minor information, however, sometimes the image is not clear enough.

On this the chief justice said answers of their questions were not presented.

Yesterday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has ordered a crackdown against the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

The chief justice asked why the authorities had failed to arrest Lashkar-e-Jhangvi culprits and took no action after the Quetta attack of January 10. "Just go and get this Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. I am at a loss to understand why the law enforcement agencies have been unable to arrest these people," observed Justice Iftikhar. The chief justice ordered the government to apprehend the perpetrators of Quetta carnage with 24 hours and sought a report from the secret agencies, including the ISI.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought replies from President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi through attorney general of Pakistan on steps taken to protect the Hazara community. The court order comes on the heels of the second attack targeting the community on February 16 in which 90 people have been killed so far – a mere five weeks after the January 10 attack that killed 106.

The court also directed federal interior and defence secretaries to submit a report on the tragic incident in Quetta on Wednesday (today) as protests throughout the country enter the fourth day. A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed heard the Hazara killings suo motu case on Tuesday. The bench summoned the interior and defence secretaries and asked them what measures have been taken to redress the grievances of the Hazara community whose hundreds of members have perished in brutal terrorist attacks in Quetta.

Both the secretaries sought time to submit a detailed report over the situation. The interior secretary told the court that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has ordered the transfer of the top police officer of Balochistan and suspended the Intelligence Bureau director in addition ton constituting a parliamentary committee to talk with the Hazara community in Quetta.

The defence secretary apprised the bench that law and order situation is not a subject of the Defence Ministry, over which the chief justice observed that the defence secretary represents the ISI and MI. Justice Iftikhar asked the official that "being the head of a secret agency was he aware of the current situation in Balochistan". Meanwhile, Balochistan home secretary apprised the bench that seven people accused of being involved in the Kirani Road bombing have been arrested and a targeted operation was underway.

Terming the Quetta killings as tragic, the chief justice observed that they have paralysed the country. Appearing before the bench, Advocate Tariq Asad urged the court to order the authorities concerned to enforce Article 245 of the constitution, saying "if efforts to save democracy continued lives would not be saved". On the deputy attorney general's comment that the federal government has imposed governor's rule in Balochistan, the chief justice questioned whether removal of the government could resolve the problem in the province.

The chief justice expressed annoyance over the deputy attorney general's information that the banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has accepted responsibility for the latest attack in Quetta, asking why had the accused not been arrested. Justice Iftikhar observed that by now a cleanup operation should have been initiated.

End.

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