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SC questions Balochistan govt over lack of progress in Quetta bombing case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court questioned on Wednesday the Balochistan government for the lack of progress in the Quetta bombing case.

The three-member bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, also expressed anger over the lack of implementation of recommendations submitted by the apex court’s commission over the attack in Quetta.

On August 8, 2016, more than 70 people — mostly lawyers — were killed and as many as 112 injured when a powerful explosion ripped through Quetta’s Civil Hospital. The members of the legal fraternity had gathered at the hospital after a senior lawyer was brought there following a targetted attack.

“Such a big incident occurred and yet no one has done anything about it,” remarked Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

Out of the 13 operation rooms at the Civil Hospital, only one is functional, remarked the bench.

Addressing the Balochistan government’s counsel, Justice Gulzar said “What do you mean you tried your best? Why is this line always repeated?”

To which, Justice Khosa said, “we won’t let this case be buried.”

Assuring their commitment to improving the situation, a Balochistan police representative said that the provincial police are ready to implement the recommendations of the Quetta commission, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Esa, which gave its report in Dec 2016.

“We won’t let Balochistan government off the hook till the injured get some relief,” observed Justice Khosa.

The court ruled that the trauma centre of the Sandeman Civil Hospital, Quetta, should be opened immediately, adding that the hospital should be upgraded soon. More doctors should be hired and wounded given proper treatment, it stressed.

To this, Balochistan special secretary said the provincial government has issued a notification to the trauma centre.

Reacting to this, Justice Khosa remarked, “Institutions don’t work just by issuing notifications. The government is also responsible for ensuring that doctors are present at the hospital.”

In-charge doctor of the trauma centre stated that some new doctors have been hired but they have not reported it as yet.

The bench also ordered for a detailed report on whether all the recommendations of the commission have been implemented or not. The report should also mention if the families of those injured or martyred have been given a plot as promised or not, and whether someone from the martyrs’ families has been given a government job.

After the August 2016 incident, the apex court took a suo motu notice of the attack. The case was taken up by the apex court after former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and lawyers’ bodies wrote a letter to the chief justice.

The Quetta attack raised several questions over governance, a notice sent by the registrar office read, adding that due to insufficient facilities at the hospital several lives which could have been saved were wasted.

“The serious injured were compelled to be shifted from Civil Hospital to the CMH and other hospitals outside the province. The post disaster scenario is not encouraging either. It appears that the incident has been forgotten and no headway has been made in either tracing the culprits or to mobilise state resources to prevent such occurrences in future,” Justice Esa had stated.

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