QUETTA - The Supreme Court has said that federal and provincial governments have failed to maintain peace in Balochistan, and establishment of writ and protection to the lives of the people, as promised by them, could be seen nowhere in the province.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and including Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, on Monday heard cases pertaining to law and order situation in Balochistan here at the Quetta Registry.

The court said that no tangible progress had been witnessed in the overall law and order situation in Balochistan contrary to the promises and assurances made by the government to the court.

“Sectarian violence is on rise in the province and no practical steps were in place to contain the prevailing alarming situation,” the apex court observed, adding that seven people were killed only in Bolan in recent days.

“The situation in Balochistan is too grim. Any person who leaves home never knows if he or she would return home safely,” the court remarked. It is deplorable that a session judge was targeted and government seemed helpless to arrest the culprits, the court added.

Advocate General of Balochistan Amanullah Kamrani contended that no stone has been left unturned on the part of government to maintain peace in the province. “We too are as much concerned on the recent spate of terror here,” he added.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry expressing his resentment asked him if the provincial government has informed the federal government that the situation is worsening with every passing day. He said heinous crimes have become order of the day, the outlaws are at large and no effective measures are being taken to bring the responsible to justice.

Expressing displeasure over the absence of Attorney General of Pakistan, the court ordered him to ensure his presence for today’s (Tuesday) hearing.

During the hearing, the wife of Nawabzada Talal Akbar Bugti, a son of late Nawab Akbar Bugti, appeared before the bench and said that Dera Bugti has been made a no-go area for them, adding that there were some 150,000 Bugtis who were not being allowed to return to their native town Dera Bugti.

The chief justice asked Balochistan Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad to look into the matter and take steps for the resolution of problems being faced by the heirs of late Nawab Bugti.

He also directed for rehabilitation of Bugtis in Dera Bugti district. The CJ remarked that situation would not have been so grave had Nawab Akbar Bugti not been murdered. “Nawab Akbar had a great political stature,” he remarked.

The chief secretary briefing the court said a strategy was being evolved to control the situation which has affected larger population of the province. He apprised the court that he along with provincial secretaries visited Dera Bugti to review the situation which they found unsatisfactory.

The SC bench on the issue of smuggled vehicles asked the Customs department to accelerate crackdown on such vehicles to control the crimes. “The provincial government must ensure that no illegal vehicle plies the road” the court directed.

On the strike of Pakistan Medical Association Balochistan chapter, the court observed that doctors represent an honourable profession and they must be treated accordingly.

However, if they don’t comply with the orders of the government and leave patients unattended, the authorities concerned are free to take action against them.