QUETTA - Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said that Balochistan is burning while the issue of missing persons and recovery of dead bodies is generating hatred, which is not good, both for the country and the province.

The chief justice passed these remarks while heading a three-member Supreme Court bench while hearing a case on the deteriorating law and order situation in Balochistan on Tuesday. The other members of bench are Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Pervez.

The Balochistan chief secretary, IGP, home secretary and other officials appeared before the court. “It is ironic you know that 204 dead bodies were found dumped in different parts of Balochistan but you have failed to find out causes and people responsible for killings,” he remarked when Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai presented details including recovered bodies, targeted killings and sectarian violence. “The mutilated bodies are fuelling hatred and tarnishing the image of country and province. You should interview the victims’ families and dig deeper who are responsible for this massacre,” he remarked. “Balochistan used to be a peaceful region but now look at your surroundings, what kind of slogans people are raising?”

The government told the court that no FIR was registered regarding the recovery of bodies.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Tariq Pervez asked the home secretary to take bold steps for restoring public order. “You senior officials have failed to enforce Article 49. The situation would have been better if there was sincerity and will on the part of senior officials like the home secretary, inspector general police and intelligence agencies,” he said. During the hearing, the Balochistan advocate general submitted a report on the steps taken to improve law and order situation and measures taken to protect people in the province. However, the chief justice expressed dissatisfaction as the report says the law and order situation is improving. “Such reports are being presented to befool us. I do not see the writ of the government in Balochistan where people are forced to migrate. I am not talking about settlers alone. There were non-settlers, including Balochs and other ethnic groups, who have migrated from the province due to deteriorating law and order situation,” the chief justice observed.

“The people were off loaded from a bus in Bolan and were lined up before ruthlessly shot dead. Kidnappings and killings are on the rise. What are the ISI, MI and IB doing?”

He asked the police chief: “It is beyond my understanding that how could you sleep in the given situation.”

Advocate General Amanullah Kanrani informed the bench that around 80 people were kidnapped from different parts of Balochistan.

“It is on the record that the home minister told media the provincial ministers are involved in kidnappings, then why action was not taken against such ministers or why they have not been arrested yet,” the chief justice questioned the IGP and home secretary.

“It was your responsibility that you should have taken action on the statement of home minister who openly says that ministers are involved in this heinous crime.”

Justice Iftikhar asked the advocate general to give district-wise details number of missing persons and whether any case had been taken up. The home secretary said a special sell was set up at the Home Department and merely 152 families of missing persons lodged their complaints.

“The government managed to recover 47 missing persons from different areas of Balochistan while 17 were found shot dead,” he told the bench. He further said 41 families could not provide the basic information about their missing relatives after which their cases were withdrawn.

Bu the home secretary got nerves and could not reply when asked who picked up the recovered 47 people. “Why you do not disclose that who whisked away these people. Were they angels or aliens?”

“The officials must investigate that who is throwing bodies. Were they killed by their own people or were they involved any anti-state activities? It is the responsibility of state to find clues,” the chief justice added

The home secretary said some recovered missing persons were under interrogation by different government functionaries and recovered by the provincial government.

Chief Secretary Yaqoob Babar Fateh Mohammad told the bench that he had grave concerns over the recovery of bullet-riddled bodies and the issue of missing persons in Balochistan. He sought an opportunity to raise the issue with the security agencies.

The court asked the government, police and Balochistan Levies to arrest the culprits involved in Hazara killings at Sipini Road, two NGO workers in Mastung, kidnapping of six BRSP officials and the murder of a woman in Dera Murad Jamali “I want a positive response from you on next date of hearing.”

The chief justice said he would give a thorough judgment on the law and order situation but the government must name a responsible person to ensure the implementation of the court verdict.

“The person must be on such a position that has the power to implement our verdict,” he said.

The court observed that the democratic government should give peace to masses.

Justice Tariq Pervez said “There are pictures in newspapers about meetings in Balochistan but there is no Baloch in these meetings,” he said, adding that they had come to Quetta to meet Balochs and Pashtuns. Balochistan High Court Bar Association President Zahoor Shawani said over 4,500 people had gone missing from Balochistan and the report submitted by the government was incomplete.

The chief justice said there was complete absence of governance in the province.

“The home secretary is not supposed to tell us that incidents are declining because we expect zero tolerance towards recovery of bodies and an end to the targeted killings and kidnappings.”

He noted that people were being killed in Karachi because the court orders were not implemented there.

He said the court had ordered depoliticising the police, de-weaponisation and ending of no-go areas in Karachi but these orders were not implemented.

“The time should not come that we ask some other people to implement our orders about Karachi,” he remarked.