Everything happening by way of some internal or external agenda’
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court, hearing a case pertaining to the deadly Quetta suicide bombing of August 2017, remarked on the plight of the Hazara community, which has been the target of multiple attacks over the years.
Heading a three-member bench, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that the injustices were being committed against the Hazara community. He said that the whole country grieves when the funeral processions of the community members were carried.
During the hearing, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government also submitted a report on a 2016 attack at a courthouse in Mardan in which 14 people lost their lives. The three lawyers and three police officers were among those killed in the attack.
The court was requested to order that the compensation given to the victims of the Mardan attack be made equal to that given to the victims of the Quetta carnage. “Hopefully, the chief minister will increase compensation for the victims of Mardan,” the bench said.
Justice Dost Mohammad said that there was information that attempts were being made to spread religious hatred in Kurram Agency and Parachinar. Pointing out the deadly Army Public School attack, the judge said that everything was happening by way of some internal or external agenda.
Justice Khosa said that these were issues that the government should be dealing with, not the courts. “It is the National Counter-Terrorism Authority’s (NACTA) job to keep an eye on these things.” During hearing, the bench questioned the attorney general regarding the progress on the recommendations made in the Quetta Inquiry Commission report.
On August 8 last year, 76 people, including 57 lawyers, were killed when a suicide bomber targeted the emergency services ward at Quetta’s Civil Hospital. The 110-page report of Justice Qazi Faez Isa-led inquiry commission had put forth several recommendations in the aftermath of the attack, which included the activation of NACTA.
The report had also recommended that the federal and Balochistan governments develop and maintain a data bank with information of perpetrators or suspects of heinous crimes and terrorist outfits. “The report was submitted before this court but the measures recommended have yet to be taken by the government, Justice Khosa told the attorney general.
The AG said that a system for tracing the financial links of terrorists was also being set up, as was a system for monitoring interprovincial border traffic. Justice Khosa said that steps should be taken to establish schools in areas where there were madrassahs. “An alternative education system should be made available for people,” he said.
When asked if there were more children enrolled in public schools or Islamic seminaries, the assistant attorney general told the court that more children were attending public schools. He said that steps were being taken to supervise madrassahs and to set up an alternative education system.
He said that a satellite system for aerial surveillance was also in place. During the hearing, Justice Khosa recalled that former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had approached the court regarding criticism against him in the Quetta commission report.
Specifically, the report had criticised the former minister for meeting with the heads of some banned groups to listen to their demands. Justice Khosa noted that since leaving the post of the interior minister, Nisar had not followed the case. “The allegations made against Nisar were of a personal nature,” the attorney general told the bench.
The bench highlighted the need for border control and surveillance of airport terminals. The court noted that attackers enter the country through the Taftan border and were found in Hyderabad. The bench pointed out that smuggling and illegal transportation activities take place along the border with Iran.