Governor's rule imposed in Balochistan, SC questions move

Islamabad, Jan 14 (IANS) Governor's rule was imposed in Pakistan's violence-hit Balochistan province early Monday following the recent twin bomb attacks in Quetta in which 86 people were killed. However, the Supreme Court has questioned its notification.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf announced governor's rule in the province in the wake of deadly bombings.

After meeting representatives of the blasts' victims, Ashraf Sunday night promised imposition of governor's rule in Balochistan to angry protesters gathered at the site, Xinhua reported.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari signed the imposition of governor's rule into force.

The imposition means that Balochistan Governor Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi will take over the power from the Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani and the provincial government will be dismissed.

Under Article 234 of Pakistan's constitution, governor's rule can only be implemented under a state of emergency with a maximum period of two months. In Pakistan, the chief minister of a province is the de facto top leader of the province while the provincial governor is largely a honorary title without actual executive power.

The decision to impose governor's rule in Balochistan is to quench the anger over the killing of the minority Shia Muslims and avoid the escalation of the crisis.

On Jan 10, twin bomb attacks killed 86 people and wounded over 120 others, mostly Shia Muslims. The brutal killing of the innocent people caused massive protests across the country.

Family members of the blast victims launched a sit-in following the attack and refused to bury the bodies till their demands were met.

On Sunday night, Ashraf rushed to Quetta to hold talks with the members of the Solidarity Council. After a behind-the-door meeting, he visited the protesters gathered at the blast site.

Ashraf announced before a gathering of representatives of the Hazara Shia community that the provincial government was being dismissed forthwith and governor rule was being imposed in Balochistan.

It was welcomed by thousands of Hazara Shias who had been staging a sit-in in freezing cold on Alamdar Road for last three days along with the bodies of the killed people.

On Monday, two groups finally announced ending their sit-in after imposition of the governor rule.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Supreme Court Monday summoned the notification to dismiss Balochistan provincial government and imposition of governor's rule.

The summons were issued during Monday's hearing of a petition by the Balochistan Bar Association on the law and order situation and human rights violations in the province, Dawn News reported.

Advocate General Balochistan Amanullah Kinrani told the bench he had not received the relevant notification so far.

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