Turbat killings: SC grills top civilian investigation agency over ‘ignorance’

  • International smuggling rings operating in Iran and Turkey besides Pakistan: DG FIA

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s top court on Thursday censured the Federal Investigation Agency for its ‘obliviousness’ to the killing of 15 people in Turbat, Balochistan last month.

The bullet-riddled bodies were recovered from Gorek area of Turbat district of Balochistan in November by the Levies officials while five more had turned up near the same area a few days later. The victims belonged to Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot and other parts of Punjab, and had been lured into entry into Greece through Iran and Turkey for the sake of employment.

During a suo-moto hearing, a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar questioned the role of agencies – in particular the FIA’s – in dealing with the cases of human trafficking in the country.

The apex court grilled the FIA director general, Balochistan’s chief secretary and advocate general of Pakistan regarding the shocking incident that brought shame to the country. The deceases were being smuggled to Europe via Iran.

“Are incidents like these a matter of pride for the institutions, agencies and the nation?’ the CJP asked.

He also questioned why the agencies of the country were unaware of the gruesome killings and what FIA was doing to thwart such incidents.

“Do you even realise the trauma these victim families have suffered of losing their loved ones?” he asked.

When the FIA chief informed the court of lack of resources and tools to investigate such crimes, the chief justice remarked: “If you do not have the resources, accept that you cannot do anything. Should we remain silent after hearing complaints of lack of resources?”

The chief justice also remarked that the FIA DG should admit failure over human smuggling. “Preventing a crime before it happens is the real skill,” the top judge asserted.

The DG FIA claimed that a terrorist organisation had killed 20 people on ethnic grounds, adding that international gangs also operate in Iran and Turkey besides Pakistan.

The CJP continued that in his opinion the DG FIA had the solution to this issue but hastened to add that the suspects who had been arrested and sent to jail would be released on bail.

The judge said the court could not stay silent just because of lack of resources and asked the FIA chief 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 and added that the judiciary was ready to lend its shoulder for FIA to prove its efficiency.

Chief Justice Nisar asked him to provide assurance that such an incident won’t happen again, adding that the judiciary was ready to lend its shoulder in support.

Meanwhile, the Balochistan chief secretary informed the court that all agencies were coordinating on the matter of human smuggling. “Extremists have been confined to two districts in Balochistan due to action by the agencies,” he claimed.

The court then asked the FIA head and Balochistan government to submit a new report containing details about human smuggling and adjourned the hearing until the first week of February.