ISLAMABAD: Two former chief ministers of Balochistan — Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and Sanaullah Zehri — defended their efforts before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, claiming that these helped in restoring a semblance of peace and tranquillity to the province as the law and order situation improved.
But Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was not impressed and regretted that the people of Balochistan lacked political empowerment and summoned the inspectors general of police and Frontier Corps to explain the law and order situation in the province.
A three-judge SC bench headed by the chief justice had taken a suo motu notice of scarcity of water in the province.
The CJP said that his visit to Quetta had left him dismayed and it was very disappointing to learn that many water resources dried up.
CJP not impressed; summons police, FC chiefs
The court asked the two chief ministers whether the situation in the province improved or deteriorated further during their tenures.
Dr Malik said that when he took over as head of Balochistan, nobody could dare take the name of Pakistan or hoist the national flag in the province, adding that no development could take place without improving the law and order situation first. He claimed that the crime rate had drastically declined since 2013, with the number of killings decreasing from 258 to 48.
“When I took charge, 258 people were killed in sectarian-related incidents,” he said, adding that there was no political interference in the affairs of the police force.
Dr Malik said the education sector got a boost as its budgetary allocation had been increased from a mere four per cent to 24pc during his tenure.
When the chief justice drew his attention to the lack of toilets in 6,054 schools, the ex-CM said Balochistan needed Rs62 billion to upgrade schools, while its total allocation was Rs42bn.
The chief justice regretted that the government hospitals in Quetta lacked basic facilities and none of them had coronary care unit. There were no incinerators or medicines for patients.
Dr Malik claimed that he had purchased equipment worth Rs2bn for hospitals and set up a trauma centre in Quetta.
About water scarcity, he said that Rs300-500bn was required for different water schemes in Balochistan, but not a single penny had been allocated by the federal government for the purpose.
Sanaullah Zehri explained that the situation in 2013 was such that no one dared to come out of his home after 5pm in Quetta and that Balochistan University had become a hub of terrorist activities where even professors were killed.
Hundreds of people, including those of the Hazara community, had been killed, he said, adding that the law and order situation in the province was worst as there were no-go areas in Quetta, but “we improved the situation”.
Mr Zehri said that his caravan had been attacked in 2013 in which his son and brother were killed. “We have restored the respect for women in the province and improved the law and order situation,” he said.
But the chief justice observed that the court intended to focus more on water schemes, adding that if the people at the helm of affairs did nothing, the court would have to fix responsibility and hold them accountable.
The court made it clear that it was not holding any inquiry or trial or conducting adversarial proceedings, but taking up the matter because it was connected to the issue of human rights.
The court asked the two chief ministers to appear before it on Friday at Supreme Court’s Quetta registry.
Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2018