Recover missing persons instead of making commitments, CJP tells authorities

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said on Friday that there should be no more “commitments” about the recovery of missing persons from Balochistan, ordering the provincial authorities to take concrete steps in this regard.

A Supreme Court (SC) bench headed by the CJP resumed the hearing of the Balochistan unrest case. Balochistan government’s counsel Shahid Hamid told the court that the abductors of seven missing persons had been traced by the authorities upon which the CJP enquired why action had not been taken against them.

The CJP said that criminals were using mobile phone SIMs, which are available even on footpaths.

Justice Gulzar observed that “today only one weapon – a cellular phone – is enough for a crime.” Justice Azmat Saeed said that suspension of mobile phone services was not a solution to the problems.

The counsel of a mobile phone company appeared before the court and said that cellular phone companies were doing business within ambit of the law, adding that they cancel the licences of franchises in case of complaints.

The Balochistan chief secretary expressed helplessness in tracking down criminals using unregistered SIMs, saying it was not possible for the government.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Hamid Shakeel told the court that in one particular case 700 SIMs had been issued against one name in just a single day.

The CJP urged authorities to restore the confidence of Baloch tribes who had left Dera Bugri. “Since natural gas is being supplied to the entire country from Dera Bugti, it is vital for us to restore peace and win back the confidence of those who have left their homes,” he said. “We should set an example by taking action against the FC if it’s really involved in kidnappings,” the CJP added. It said that civilian rule should be immediately restored in Dera Bugti.

Hamid told the bench that only 1,000 out of 10,000 Balochistan Constabulary personnel were available for duties in the province.

The court remarked that the protection of people’s lives was the responsibility of the state. It also observed that transparent elections would help improve the situation in the province, adding that a conducive atmosphere should be provided to the people of Balochistan so that they could elect their true representatives without fear.

The CJP remarked that the Election Commission should convene a meeting for the registration of voters in Dera Bugti. He said that progress had been made in the missing persons’ case‚ while efforts should be made to recover others.

The hearing of the case has been adjourned until March 6

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