Pak Supreme Court Chief Justice warns Kayani over Balochistan unrest

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Hon. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the current Chief Justice of Pakistan today warned the Pakistan army chief over the situation in Baluchistan. He further said that the security situation in Balochistan is extremely serious and General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army will have to explain the reasons for the deterioration of the situation. A judicial bench consisting of three justices, including Chaudhry conducted a hearing over the law and situation in Balochistan today. The bench expressed concerns over reports of “missing persons” in the province, who disappeared without a trace after being detained by the army.

Justice Chaudhry also heavily criticized Maj Gen Obaidullah Khan Khattak, the Inspector General Frontier Corps of Pakistan (FC). Maj Gen Khattak had conducted a press conference a few days ago, in which he had claimed that a large number of ethnic Baloch have joined various insurgent groups active in the province. He further claimed that these groups are receiving military and financial aid from “foreign powers”. Justice Chaudhry informed the media that Khattak is not authorized to hold press meetings and his action is a violation of the code of conduct.

According to various Pakistani political analysts, Justice Chaudhry was probably hinting that he will use the Article 190 of the Pakistani constitution, which gives the court the power to summon all executive and judicial authorities in the country. If enforced, Gen Kayani will be duty bound to explain the actions of the FC in Balochistan before the court, which may cause serious inconvenience to the Pakistani military establishment.

Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was appointed as the Chief Justice of Pakistan on 30 June 2005, being nominated by the then President, Pervez Musharraf. On 3rd November 2007, General Pervez Musharraf invoked state of emergency in Pakistan and suspended Chaudhry. He was reinstated in 2009. Born in Quetta, Balochistan, Chaudhry is an ethnic-Muhajir, whose family had immigrated to Pakistan from India at the time of independence. He was first nominated as the Justice to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2000.

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