History Will Not Spare You, Cj Tells Malik

The chief justice said while the bench would be exonerated by history, the interior minister would not be there.

ISLAMABAD: An interesting dialogue took place between Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Interior Minister Rehman Malik during the course of hearing on the Balochistan law and order case on Friday. During the hearing, Rehman Malik attempted to present his views upon approaching the rostrum. The chief justice asked him to return to his seat since he had not been called to speak.

Malik said he wanted to bring some facts to light, adding that the bench was not permitting him to speak and was instead letting the attorney general, who was his subordinate, to argue. The chief justice then directed the interior minister to submit his statement in writing.

Malik replied that if the bench did not allow him to speak, neither he nor the bench would be absolved in the annals of history.

The chief justice said while the bench would be exonerated by history, the interior minister would not be there.

Justice Iftikhar remarked that the Balochistan government was answerable to what was happening in the province. He asked whether it was possible for the people to freely move in the province.

Responding to this, Rehman Malik said the impression that Balochistan was not safe to travel was not correct.

The chief justice then offered Malik to travel with him to Balochistan to which the interior minister agreed. The chief justice said that he would not travel with the minister in an armoured personnel carrier. Malik agreed to travel in an ordinary car and offered to take the driver’s seat. The chief justice said that travelling to Balochistan did not mean travelling to Quetta alone.

Rehman Malik said a number of militant groups were involved in terrorist activities in Balochistan. He said that the government and judiciary had to sustain democracy in the country. Justice Iftikhar said that democracy would remain.

Rehman Malik told the court that a nexus of Taliban, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Jundullah existed in the province.At this, the chief justice asked the minister to catch hold of the Taliban, BLA and Jundullah.

Rehman Malik said he would be giving a briefing about it.The chief justice said those in Islamabad could not feel the heat of the Balochistan situation. “Is it possible for the people in Balochistan to move about freely; is anyone safe and secure in any place?” he inquired, and added that the chief minister’s own nephew was murdered and the murderer could not be arrested.

Justice Iftikhar said the Hindus had left Kalat, all the shops were closed and caravans moved in security during the night in Kalat.

“The governor and chief secretary were subjected to firing. You are sitting in Islamabad and saying all is well,” Justice Iftikhar told Rehman Malik.

Rehman Malik told the chief justice that his observations were correct, but was the government creating all this?

The CJ questioned the modus operandi of the provincial government and observed that law and order was not satisfactory. He said if 50 percent of the missing persons were recovered, then they would observe that the situation was improving.

Malik said that upon his direction, FIRs were being lodged in missing persons’ cases. He said under Article 148(3), the federal government could provide assistance to the provincial government with logistic and intelligence support etc in case of internal challenges.

He told the bench that the federal government was very keen to provide all out support to the provincial government but responsibility for maintaining law and order situation was vested with the provincial set-up.

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