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CJ for timely polls, come what may
 
 
 

ISLAMABAD - Expressing apprehension over the consequences of the governor’s rule in Balochistan, the counsel for the provincial government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that a constitutional crisis might emerge regarding the formation of caretaker government in Balochistan.Balochistan government’s counsel Shahid Hamid said the caretaker government would be formed with the consultation of the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition under the Constitution. He questioned how the Balochistan Assembly would be dissolved when the provincial government was under suspension as all the provincial assemblies would be dissolved on the advice of the chief ministers concerned under Article 112 of the Constitution. A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, was hearing the petition regarding the worsening law and order situation and target killings in Balochistan. The petition was filed by Balochistan High Court Bar Association against the target killings, kidnapping for ransom etc in the province.The chief justice observed that democratic process must continue in the country under all the circumstances and change could be brought only through timely elections. He directed Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad to ensure that people in the province could exercise their right to vote in the general elections. The chief justice said that democratic process should not be derailed and all and sundry should ensure free and transparent elections. The court directed the chief secretary to ensure rehabilitation of about 250,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Dera Bugti and Kohlu districts so that they could also participate in the forthcoming general elections.During the proceedings, DIG Zubair Mehmood told the court that they had also arrested one SP and two DSPs involved in kidnapping for ransom. The court directed the DIG to submit a report within three days and accelerate efforts to trace the missing persons.Nawabzada Talal Bugti appeared in person before the court and submitted that before the general elections, efforts should be made for the rehabilitation of around 250,000 IDPs of Dera Bugti and Kohlu.He further told the court that voter lists in Dera Bugti and Kohlu district had not been prepared in a transparent manner, saying a good number of voters had not been registered in electoral lists in both the districts. Similarly, he contended that they had not been provided with security while moving from one place to another.The court directed the chief secretary to address the issues, pinpointed by Talal Bugti. The chief secretary told the court that these issues would be addressed in accordance with law, adding the issue of voter lists had already been taken up with the Election Commission of Pakistan. The chief justice said they were confident that the Elections Commission would ensure that the process of registering voters of Dera Bugti, Kohlu and Mari districts be completed in a transparent manner to enable the citizens of these districts to exercise their right to vote in the general elections. The chief justice further directed the chief secretary to ensure that the civil administration and rule of law prevailed in Kohlu and other districts without any discrimination and the citizens living there must have their fundamental rights like those living in the other districts.Shahid Hamid, counsel for the Balochistan government, and Advocate General Amanullah Kanrani placed on record a progress report over the law and order situation in the province from January 15 to January 27. Shahid Hamid told the court that a committee had been set up to compensate the heirs of those whose mutilated bodies had been found, adding the committee would also compensate the heirs of those people falling victims to target killings in the province, particularly from the Hazara tribe. The court was told that investigation had been started to recover the missing persons, adding three to four missing persons had been found.Balochistan High Court Bar Association President Malik Zahoor Awan Malik, the petitioner in the case, contended that no progress had been made in tracing out the missing persons.Shahid Hamid said he would convene a meeting of all the authorities concerned, both at federal and provincial levels, to ensure law and order situation in Kohlu, Makran and Dera Bugti districts and holding of the forthcoming general elections in a transparent manner. The court adjourned the hearing till February 15.

 
 
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