Chief Justice Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, while hearing the case pertaining to law and order situation in Balochistan, observed why the UN delegation had been invited to visit Pakistan given the fact that the matter of missing persons was sub judice. The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) is on 10-day visit to Pakistan from September 9 to 20.
The interior secretary told the court that the federal government and the Foreign Office invited the UN delegation.
A three-member bench rejected the statement jointly prepared by Interior Secretary Siddique Akbar, Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (r) Asif Yasin Malik, Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir, Balochistan Chief Secretary Yaqoob Babar, home secretary, Balochistan Police chief and Frontier Corps (FC) IG.
The chief justice said: “We are not satisfied with the statement as we have been hearing the matter case-to-case,” adding that the missing persons were with the FC proved by ample evidence.
The court stopped the attorney general for reading the statement and the chief justice said out of the 1,700 to 1,800 incidents, allegations were levelled against the FC. There was a need to strengthen the provincial police force and Levies, he added.
The bench has so far conducted 42 hearings in Islamabad and 28 in Quetta.
The chief justice said it seemed that federal and the provincial governments were not interested in resolving the issue; therefore, the court would now decide the matter after hearing the Balochistan governor and amicus curiae, which may include Munir A Malik, Salman Akram Raja, Supreme Court Bar Association President Yasin Azad, Vice-Chairman Pakistan Bar Council Akhtar Hussain and Rasheed Rizvi.
During the proceedings, the bench expressed concern over the absence of the interior secretary despite repeated notices and said they would direct the establishment secretary to transfer him immediately if he did not appear before after the break.
Acting upon the directives, the interior secretary interior reached the Supreme Court and informed the bench that he was not feeling well for last several days. Had the Balochistan chief secretary informed him half an hour ago he would have immediately appeared before the court.
Siddique said: “Balochistan is the future of Pakistan,” adding that everyone from wanted a solution of the issue.
The chief justice remarked that the despite the efforts of government officials, the outcome was zero.
The federal secretary requested the court to hear Interior Minister Rehman Malik as he wanted to brief the court about the Balochistan law and order. Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked the federal minister would only tell the court that foreign elements were involved in Balochistan.
The defence secretary said the provincial chief secretary and home secretary sought some time to deliver, adding that he had also talked to the chiefs of ISI and MI and instructed them to cooperate with the local administration and provincial police.
The chief justice said the ISI and MI had also submitted the report but there was no improvement in it. “We had thought that the prime minister would take concrete steps to control the worsening situation in Balochistan.”
The chief secretary said he took up the matter with the PM and had requested him for a meeting to discuss the matter.
The chief justice said they wanted to strengthen the democratic system and therefore so far had shown restraint, but the situation of the province was deteriorating day by day.
Justice Khilji stated that the federal and the provincial governments did not seem to be serious to resolve the Balochistan issue, adding it would serious repercussion. “We do not to want for extreme step but the authorities are compelling them to do so.” Later, the hearing was adjourned till Thursday.
Agencies add: During the hearing, the chief justice objected to the appearance of the attorney general in the courtroom. Upon which, the attorney general had said: “If you think that I should not appear for the hearings, then I should not be called for these.”
Chief Justice Iftikhar had directed the attorney general to read the court’s order, but Irfan’s reply was that the court’s orders reached him late.