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Saturday, 16 February 2013

A province under fire: CJ says extraordinary measures needed in Balochistan

A province under fire: CJ says extraordinary measures needed in Balochistan

"The Balochistan situation is not normal and there must be extraordinary measures to control it," Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. PHOTO: FILE
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday asserted that Balochistan has become a hub of illegal activities, and there can no longer be any compromise on its law and order situation.
This was stated by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as he addressed senior officials while heading a three member bench on Balochistan security.
“The situation of the province is not normal and there must be extraordinary measures to control it,” he said.
The chief justice further observed how the province has now become a haven for criminal elements and sectarianism, even though there was no sectarianism in the province just a few years ago.
According to him, the confidence of the people who have left Dera Bugti must be restored in the government. For this, mere advertisements in newspapers are not enough.
“Why is action not taken against those who are involved in abduction of people in the province?”he asked. “If people are fearful of FC officials, then action should be taken against those officials who are involved in abductions.”
Balochistan home secretary informed the court that two recovered persons said in their statements that they were abducted by men in uniforms.
To this, the Balochistan government’s counsel Shahid Hamid said that security agencies had indentified the abductors of seven missing persons.
Furthermore, the chief justice said that governor’s rule has not been validated by the Parliament as yet. He said the court was in favour of democracy, but noted how many compromises must be made in a democratic set-up.
Chief Justice Chaudhry also emphasized the role of illegal SIMs in helping facilitate incidents such as kidnapping for ransom, bomb blasts, and targeted killings. He noted that these SIMs are openly sold on roadsides, without any documentation or record trail of the purchaser. Even children sell the already activated SIMs.
“These illegal SIMS ultimately used for terror-related activities’,” he said.
According to him, the Taliban are also using these means for communication and for implementing their violent plans.
The DIG of the Criminal Investigation Department of Balochistan said that 700 SIMs were purchased by a single person in a single day.
In response, the counsel for the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Raza Kazim said that such a large number of SIMs is never sold by the PTA to a single person, but by franchises. He said that the PTA should be given the authority to block the illegal SIMs.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed also shared his thoughts on the issue as he observed the ease with which crimes are being carried out. All a militant needs now are a mobile phone and a bomb.