SC orders operation against target killers
21 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has directed Balochistan government to recover missing persons, make atmosphere peaceful and election-friendly in Dera Bugti, launch operation against people involved in target killings and submit a report to it.
The court was informed on Wednesday that according to the new electoral rolls, number of voters in Dera Bugti had drastically decreased from 95 thousand to 64 thousand; therefore the provincial government was considering restoration of electoral lists of 2008. A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has asked the Balochistan government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to evolve a mechanism to ensure that no person of Dera Bugti is deprived of the right to vote in the upcoming general elections.
The counsel for Balochistan government, Shahid Hamid, revealed before the bench that the provincial government was convening a tribal jirga, which would be helpful in creating a pleasant atmosphere for the general elections. Likewise, Balochistan High Court (BHC) President Zahoor Ahmad Shawani expressed apprehension regarding the increase in number of the missing persons in the province and said that extreme unrest is being witnessed in Makran Division, as people there had no access to communications.
The counsel stated that newspapers and cable TV were banned in these areas. He also said that the residents of Turbat were facing threats regarding participation in upcoming general elections. The court expressed serious concern over the unrest and increasing the number of missing persons in the province and directed the provincial government to work for early recovery of missing persons. The court was apprised that the provincial police had traced out within its department several "black sheep" who had links with terrorists and now they were proceedings against them.
It was further said that police had arrested some people who were allegedly involved in the killing of Hazaras in two incidents. The bench was informed that the provincial government had declared eight districts, Quetta, Kalat, Khuzdar, Dera Bugti, Panjgur, Gawadar, Turbat and Awaran, as most sensitive before the general elections.
The court was surprised when the provincial government's counsel informed it that Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob was removed from his post on March 17 because it was part of the bargain for the dissolution of the provincial assembly. The chief justice asked the provincial government's officers why was unrest not ending in the province and when will the miseries of missing persons come to an end. He also showed dissatisfaction over the role of the FC in the province said that the FC IG had failed to recover missing persons, and people were receiving bullet-riddled dead bodies of their loved ones every day.
The chief justice also said that although he had still not received a letter from Balochistan National Party President Sardar Akhtar Mengal, but he read the contents of his letter in a newspaper that Akhtar Mengal had expressed his anxiety over the law and order situation and increasing number of missing persons in the province. Justice Iftikhar said that the court was considering sitting at the Quetta registry in the next month. The court questioned how would good governance be ensured when bureaucrats are under constant threat.
It appreciated the incumbent chief secretary's efforts for maintaining law and order. The chief justice lamented that it is a matter of concern that the opposition leader of Balochistan Assembly had been decided by the court.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob assured the court that the upcoming elections would be held peacefully on the same day in all areas. He said he had held several meetings with different political parties' leaders in this regard. He also stated that the government would provide full security to the politicians during the election campaign. Yaqoob said he was coordinating with different intelligent agencies regarding the recovery of missing persons. The hearing of the case has been adjourned until April 4.