No More Tricky Politics, Mr. Chief Justice

Since his reinstatement in 2009, the Supreme Court Chief Justice, Ifthakar Mohammad Chaudhary, has performed amazingly well as a political player but done poorly as an official who is paid to dispense justice among the citizens of the state. If one goes through his remarks that he has made in the recent times while hearing the cases of the missing persons, one learns that he has significantly improved his rhetorical vocabulary. In Quetta, where the CJP is hearing the disappeared people’s cases, he has implicitly said the judiciary is not as weak as the provincial government in Quetta. He has summoned the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, to appear before the court to provide an explanation for the whereabouts of the missing persons.

The Chief Justice played the ‘missing-person-card’ to run a successful campaign to regain his job after former military dictator ruler General Musharraf had fired him supposedly by raising the issue of the missing persons. He has gotten back into politics rather than getting straight to the real issue of missing persons. We do not see any reason why the heads of Pakistani intelligence agencies and the Frontier Corps (FC) should not summoned  in the courts.

While the Pakistan People’ Party-led coalition government has plenty of shortcomings for which it can easily be trashed but we should at least not implicate the civilian government into problems for which it has never been blamed.  For the past eight years, since the first cases of the missing persons were reported, relatives and family members of the victims have directly blamed intelligence agencies, the Frontier Corps (FC) and the army. A number of First Investigation Reports (FIRs) filed by the relatives of the missing persons and interviews in the media also show that the people have substantial amount of evidence about the involvement of the country’s security apprratus in these cases.

The Chief Justice satisfied his political ego by dragging the civilian Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani into the Supreme Court but does he have the spunk to flaunt over his institutional muscles by bringing the army chief, General Kayani, to the courtroom as well to find out the whereabouts of the missing persons?

For almost a decade, the big guns in the armed forces and intelligence agencies have enjoyed absolute impunity for their actions in Balochistan. They do not bother to appear before the court to state their position or respond to the ‘accusations’ made by the relatives of the missing persons. Even if the spymasters appear in front of the courts, they do not tell the  full truth in front of the court. On Wednesday, the Deputy Attorney General told the court that the Inspector General of the Frontier Corps (FC) and the provincial chiefs of the intelligence agencies were ‘too busy’ to appear before the court, according to BBC Urdu Service.

We strongly urge the Chief Justice to stop humiliating the Balochistan Police and democratic government for crimes committed by the armed forces and their agencies. We do fully recognize that the government in Quetta has a responsibility to protect people’s lives and property but we do not see  any point in bailing out the military, which is primly blamed for the missing persons’ issue. The Chief Minister, on his appearance at the court, will mostly probably say that his government does not have the power to ask the real captors to release the missing persons.  The issue of the missing persons is not the best topic to manipulate for gaining popularity in the media or settling scores with one’s rivals. The CJP has turned out to be an annoyingly untrained political freak. He wants to play politics in a distasteful manner.

The case of the missing persons is a genuine human rights issue and it should be handled more professionally. (Courtesy: The Baloch Hal)


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