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SC wants 'operation clean-up' in Quetta

22 February, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Hearing the suo motu case regarding the massacre of the Hazara community members, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed on Thursday that a cleanup operation is required in Quetta, as general elections are also near.

He remarked that if those involved in the Quetta bombing were not arrested, acts of terrorism would continue. A three-member bench headed by the chief justice has sought a comprehensive report from the FC commandant regarding the killing of Hazaras on Kinrani Road on February 16. Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir on Thursday submitted a report in the court on behalf of the federation, saying it should be treated as from the prime minister and the president. He said the report contained some information that required it to be kept confidential.

Meanwhile, contrary to the intelligence agencies' stance, the Balochistan administration told the court that the information provided to it about possible terrorist attacks was not specific. Quetta CCPO Mir Zubair Mehmood informed the court that no specific information was received by the provincial administration. But the chief justice pointed out that the intelligence agencies had shared information about an imminent threat. However, Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Durrani said after the Alamdar incident, information related to general threats alerts was received, but it was not specific. The provincial DIG also said that information provided by the intelligence agencies was sketchy.

The chief justice noted that the agencies sometimes could not tell when and where an incident would take place. He inquired from the Quetta CCPO when did he receive the information from the relevant agency that an attack was going to take place and why had he not taken precautionary measures. CCPO Mehmood replied that on the Kanrani Road there was one police and two FC checkposts. He said that after the Alamdar Road attack they had prepared an elaborate plan and put it in place, but the terrorists changed their strategy. He said due to a shortage of water in that area water tankers were frequently going there, therefore they did not check the tanker that carried the explosives.

Justice Khilji reminded the CCPO that during the hearing of the case at Quetta Registry the court had ordered installation of CCTV cameras, control of illegal sale of SIMs and vehicles, but no step had been taken in that regard. The chief justice said that the police had to provide protection to all segments of society and for that it had to make special arrangements. CCPO Mehmood told the court that the police have taken into custody over a 100 illegal vehicles.

The chief justice told the police officer that the court has great trust in him. He said that the police should have launched a crackdown and traced out the culprits. He cited the example of General Imran who in 1986 launched a cleanup operation. Justice Iftikhar said: "IB report itself is an eye opener." "You should keep in your mind that you are not only the CCPO Quetta, but also the son of the soil. It is your duty to protect their lives, as God has given you this opportunity," the CJP told the CCPO. He asked CCPO Mehmood to "keep it up and don't be demoralised, as challenges do come in life".

Appearing on behalf of the FC commandant, Major Sohail said that the commandant could not come due to operational commitment. The CCPO briefed the court about the on-ground situation and the efforts being made to protect the lives of the people. "The available resources were put to maximum utilisation and by the grace of God soon we will have success," he said. Meanwhile, the DIG said: "I m proud of commandant Quetta though 150 members of police died in the incident, but my force is willing to fight and lay down their lives for a good cause." The hearing of the case has been adjourned till February 26.


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