QUETTA: Pakistan's Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has condemned the targetted attacks on members of the minority Hazara community in Balochistan, describing it as a clear case of "ethnic cleansing".
Leading a two-judge bench comprising of Justice Ijazul Ahsan and himself at the Supreme Court's Quetta Registry, Chief Justice Nisar, taking suo moto notice of the attacks, said, "For me, the targetted killing of the Hazara community in Quetta is ethnic cleansing and that is why I had to take suo motu notice. We have no words to condemn the killings of Hazaras."
According to the Express Tribune, Chief Justice Nisar took suo motu notice of recent attacks on the beleaguered community and asked the Balochistan government, Levies, police, and the Interior Ministry to submit separate reports to the apex court.
Earlier, community leaders approached the bench to relate their predicament.
"The Hazaras are being killed for the last 20 years, but no one has been arrested till this date," Advocate Iftikhar Ali, a leader of the community, told the court.
He claimed the Hazaras were facing systemic discrimination.
"We are facing personal and financial losses due to this persecution," the Express Tribune quoted him, as saying.
He also highlighted the fact that security for 15 Hazara leaders has been withdrawn, which the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Quetta) denied.
Chief Justice Nisar asked Balochistan Inspector General Police (IGP) Moazzam Jah Ansari and other agencies to reveal the measures they were taking to protect the community.
Balochistan IGP Ansari revealed that 399 Hazaras had been killed in various incidents of terrorism in the last six years.
The highest number of Hazaras (208) was killed in 2013, while 19 people from the minority community and 20 settlers were killed in 2012, his report said.
"Nine members of the Hazara community have been targeted in Balochistan in the last four months," the IGP said, adding that 106 security personnel have also been killed since 2012 in targetted attacks.
"Twenty-eight personnel have been martyred so far in various incidents across the province this year. The security situation in the province has improved now," he added.
Another leader of Hazaras, Major (retd) Nadir Ali, lamented that a joint investigation team (JIT) formed to investigate targetted killings of the Hazaras could not produce any significant results.
Chief Justice Nisar ordered the IGP to directly look into the issue.
The chief justice also took notice of a separate petition filed by a Hazara woman whose husband has reportedly gone missing and advised IGP Ansari and the Frontier Corps to contact intelligence agencies for assistance in the matter.
"We cannot exist peacefully without state institutions. We should not consider them as our enemies," he said in a reference to the intelligence agencies on Friday."I met the Hazara community recently. They were so afraid, they wouldn't even lodge complaints or request the Supreme Court, while killers of the community are holding public rallies," Chief Justice Nisar said.
The CJP ordered the authorities to improve and implement a security plan immediately. He later adjourned the hearing till after Eid-ul-Fitr.