ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Thursday warned the Frontier Corps to produce missing persons or face criminal action against FC personnel nominated in the FIR for their alleged involvement in the abduction and enforced disappearances of people in Balochistan.
A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, was hearing the petition filed by the Balochistan Bar Association on the law and order situation in the province.
The court expressed its dismay over the non-compliance of the court order pertaining to the submission of a duly signed joint report on Balochistan by the Secretary Interior, Secretary Defence and Inspector General Frontier Corps. The court has now redirected them to produce the report by July 31.
The chief justice why there was no commitment given in the report regarding the recovery of missing persons. The court had directed the provincial authorities, the Federal Government, the Ministry of Defence and representative of the FC to file a joint report duly signed by the competent and concerned officer, indicating why the Constitution was not being fully enforced, and the State machinery had failed to the control law and order situation in Balochistan.
At the outset of the hearing, Balochistan’s Advocate General Aman Ullah Kanrani informed the court that comparatively,the law and order situation in the province had improved, saying that while SHOs would earlier not bother to register cases, district police officers were now suspended for not doing so. He assured the court to strengthen the compensation amount to the heirs of missing person, adding that Rs557 million had been paid so for. The Balochistan advocate general told the court that no official was ready to sign the report sought by this court about the Balochistan situation and sought more time, so that the Ministry of Defence would conduct a meeting with the Interior Ministry and otherdepartments to compile the report in pursuance of court orders.
The chief justice observed that enforcement of the Constitution was mandatory to save the institutional system in the country. He asked the top legal officer when the no-go area of Dera Bughti would be opened for the public. On this, the AG informed the bench that there was no restriction on people going there but they should travel in the area without weapons.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja recommended a team of Bar members, journalists and civil society which could visit the Dera Bugti and observe the law and order situation there.Objecting to a news report published in a local daily in which Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Yasin Azad said that no body was paying heed to resolve the Balochistan issue, the agencies’ counsel Raja Irshad said this was unfair. “Produce the missing persons before the court,” the chief justice told him in response, adding that delaying tactics from the authorities concerned were the major hurdle in addressing the issues in Balochistan.
During the hearing, the chief justice appreciated Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for making another committee to review the prevailing law and order in Balochistan. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till July 31 and directed the concern authorities to submit written statements regarding effective measures to improve the law and order situation in the province.