ISLAMABAD – The top security officials told Supreme Court on Monday that all-out efforts were being made for recovering the Baloch missing persons and they had convened a meeting of the officials of various law enforcement agencies to discuss the matter.

The promise was made by Balochistan FC Inspector General Major-General Obaidullah Khan Khattak and the IGP as they appeared before a three-member bench, which is hearing a petition filed by the former president of Balochistan High Court Bar Association (BHCBA) on the law and order situation in the province.

“The respect for the Frontier Corps (FC) is waning day by day, as 95 per cent people in Balochistan allege that the FC is involved in picking up the civilians in the province,” the bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry - comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain - observed.

Referring to the dwindling respect for the FC, Justice Khilji remarked finger was being pointed towards the security force in almost every case of missing persons.

The chief justice said the missing persons were the key issue of the province and they could not shut their eyes as evidence was available against the FC.

In compliance with the court’s earlier order, the FC chief along with the IGP appeared before the court and promised to make all efforts for the recovery of the three missing persons. During the last hearing, the chief justice had taken strong notice of the absence of the FC commander.

The chief justice told Khattak prima facie there were evidences that the FC was not only in involved in the abduction of three missing persons but other cases as well. The IG FC, however, denied the version and said it was not true as they were also making all-out efforts to recover them.

Chief Justice Iftikhar said besides documentary evidences, they also had the CCTV footage that showed the three missing persons were picked up by the FC personnel. The footage was shown in the courtroom which revealed that they were transported in a FC vehicle, an account narrated by an ASI in his statement.

But the IG FC contended the said footage showed only the rear side of the vehicle, which sis not proved that it was used in abduction. He said 1,931 attacks were carried out against the police and the FC over the last 18 months and the militants claimed the responsibility for 886 of them. He claimed that someone impersonating as the FC personnel picked up the missing persons.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said: “Don’t give the excuse of impersonation as we have to proceed logically.”

He also asked whether the force had made any progress in hunting down the culprits carrying out over 800 attacks, to which Khattak said he did not have the record. At this Justice Jawwad said he got his answer.

The chief justice recalled that sufficient time was given to them to recover the missing persons but no progress had been made so for.

He told the FC Chief that they did not deny the sacrifices being made by the force, but it was its duty to develop confidence among the public. He further noted contradiction between the statements given by the government and FC on the issue.

The chief justice further asked Khattak as to who should be approached for an answer if the FC and police failed in their search for the missing persons.

The court granted 20 minutes to the FC and police bosses to think over and gave a statement regarding the recovery of three missing persons and the overall law and order situation of Balochistan.

After a short break, the two officials submitted that all-out efforts were being made for recovering the missing persons. They had convened a meeting of the officials of law enforcement agencies and would inform the court about its outcome, they added.

At this the court adjourned the hearing till May 21 and directed the Balochistan advocate general to submit the copies of the court’s order to IG FC and Police and other authorities concerned.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza has constituted a special parliamentary committee on the missing persons.

The speaker has formed the body in pursuance of the resolution adopted by the National Assembly on March 14. The committee comprises Abdul Qadir Patel, Dr Attiya Inayatullah, Sajid Ahmed, Himayatullah Mayar, Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan, Naseer Bhutta and Maulana Attaur Rehman.