SC summons schedule of LB polls from federal, provincial govts; CJ says situation in Balochistan worsening

SC summons schedule of LB polls from federal, provincial govts; CJ says situation in Balochistan worsening

ISLAMABAD, (SANA): Supreme Court of Pakistan, while hearing Balochistan law and order case, has sought date for local bodies’ election from four provinces and federation up to Thursday. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that situation in Balochistan is worsening, adding that no progress has been made regarding the recovery of the missing persons. He said that the court wants recovery of missing persons at any cost.

Three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Wednesday resumed hearing of the Balochistan law and order case.

Chief Justice said that it was anticipated that the new government would make serious efforts to improve the situation but law and order has further deteriorated.

Chief Justice said that two days ago 10 people were killed. Balochistan National Party Mangle (BNP-M) Chief Sardar Akhtar Mangle asked the court to provide them peace and they want nothing more.

He said that people are being killed and it is the responsibility of the state to provide protection to the people and the federal government is answerable to the law and order situation in Balochistan.

Chief Justice said that the court said with regard to the previous government that the government had failed in protecting life and property of the people, adding that no action was taken despite clear orders of the court.

During the hearing, Justice Azmat Saeed remarked whether government would announce date for election or apex court would have to do so.

Chief Justice said that peace could not be restored in province despite government having army, Rangers, MI, FIA, police and other institutions at its disposal.

The apex court ordered that federal and provincial Balochistan government should take concrete steps to provide security to the public, especially the Hazara community. Chief Justice said that no progress has been made for the recovery of missing persons.

The court expressed concern on overall law and order situation and directed the four provincial governments to submit dates for holding of local bodies elections in their respective provinces.

The court also expressed dissatisfaction over report of the Balochistan government on law and order.

The court observed that to improve governance and to ensure public participation holding of local bodies elections is essential.

The bench said that the provincial governments should inform the court when they will hold the local bodies’ elections while observing that the Election Commission of Pakistan is on record saying that it is ready to hold the elections.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that the situation might not change without holding the local bodies’ election.

On the other hand, Advocate General Punjab Mustafa Ramday said that draft legislation has been prepared for the holding of local bodies’ elections in Punjab.

He also sought some time from the court for consultation with the Punjab Chief Minister. Despite a new government in place, the situation in Balochistan has turned worse, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said.

Then apex court bench observed that the former government failed to protect the people of the province and everyone hoped the new government will change things for better, however, the situation has not improved. The chief justice further lamented zero progress in the missing persons’ case.

Commenting on the sectarian violence in the province, Chief Justice Chaudhry said that only one community is being targeted by the extremists. He added that the militants are strengthening because of the government’s soft stance.

Chief Secretary Balochistan – who appeared before the court on Wednesday – admitted that the situation in Balochistan has turned worse but assured that the police were more active than before and have been raiding and arresting suspects. The court adjourned hearing of the case till today (Thursday).

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