General

Supreme Court upset with FIA over Turbat killings

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday questioned the role of agencies in particular the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in preventing human trafficking cases in the country.
A three-member bench headed by the CJP was hearing a suo motu case regarding the killing of 20 people in Balochistan whose bullet-riddled bodies were found in Turbat and Buleda areas last month.
The victims had been brought to the province by human traffickers with the intention of making them cross the Pakistan-Iran border illegally.
The director general of FIA as well as Balochistan’s chief secretary and advocate general appeared before the bench as reports into the incident were submitted to the court.
“Are incidents like these a matter of pride for the institutions, agencies and the nation?” the CJP asked rhetorically at the outset of the hearing.
He questioned why the agencies of the country were “unaware” and what is the FIA’s role in preventing such incidents.
“What must the families that received the bodies have gone through?” he asked.
The FIA chief conceded before the court that his agency had limited resources and tools required for investigation into incidents of this nature.
“If you don’t have the resources, accept that you cannot do anything,” the CJP replied.
DG FIA told the court that despite limited resouces, his agency had taken action and sent human smugglers to jails after arresting them. The CJP remarked that in his opinion the DG FIA had the solution to this issue.
“The suspects who have been arrested and sent to jail will be released on bail,” he remarked.
He said the court could not stay silent just because of lack of resources. Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked which official agencies are not cooperating with FIA.
The chief justice asked DG FIA to give the assurance that a similar incident would not take place in the future.
“Preventing the crime before it takes place is the real skill,” he remarked.
The DG FIA claimed that a terrorist organisation had killed the 20 people on ethnic grounds, adding that international gangs also operate in Iran and Turkey besides Pakistan.
The court asked the FIA head and Balochistan government to submit a new report containing details about human smuggling.
“The judiciary is ready to lend its shoulder; you [should] show action,” the CJP told the DG FIA.
Meanwhile, the Balochistan chief secretary told the court that all agencies are coordinating on the matter of human smuggling. Extremists have been confined to two districts in Balochistan due to action by the agencies, he said.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until the first week of February.
The chief justice had taken suo motu notice of media reports regarding the Balochistan killings last month.
Fifteen bullet-riddled bodies were discovered by the Levies force in Balochistan’s Kech district on November 15, while five more had turned up near the same area on November 18.
The victims belonged to Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot and other parts of Punjab, and had been trying to enter Iran illegally and then proceed to Turkey to enter Greece for the sake of employment, a senior administration officer had told.
Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) had claimed responsibility for the first 15 killings and an alleged BLF commander involved in the incident was later killed.
Balochistan has experienced incidents of violence and targeted killings for over a decade. In recent months, the province has faced a number of security challenges, with security personnel in the province often being targeted in roadside explosions and suicide attacks.