Serious human rights violation by Pak Army: WikiLeaks
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Last Updated: Friday, December 03, 2010, 00:24
Washington: Much before the human rights violation by the Pakistani Army became public through the media, a top American diplomat stationed in Islamabad had advised the US Government to keep reports of such abuses under wraps.

"A growing body of evidence is lending credence to allegations of human rights abuses by Pakistan security forces during domestic operations against terrorists in Malakand Division and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas," said a secret US cable coming out of the US Embassy in Islamabad and signed off by its Ambassador, Anne Patterson.

Human rights violations by Pakistani Army had appeared on YouTube and other websites.

The cable dated, September 7, 2009 and labeled as Secret/Nonforn (Non-foreign) was released by WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website, which claims to have in its possession more than 25,000 secret US cables and would be gradually releasing those over the next several weeks.

The United States, which has charged the WikiLeaks of indulging in a criminal act by stealing and releasing these cables, has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of these documents.

Taking serious note of human rights violations by the Pakistani Army, Patterson however advised Washington to avoid comment on these incidents to the extent possible and that efforts remain focused on dialogue and the assistance strategy to Pakistan.

"While it is oftentimes difficult to attribute with accuracy any responsibility for such abuses, reporting from a variety of sources suggests that Frontier Corps and regular Pakistan Army units involved in direct combat with terrorists may have been involved," the US cable said.

"The crux of the problem appears to centre on the treatment of terrorists detained in battlefield operations and have focused on the extra-judicial killing of some detainees.

The detainees involved were in the custody of Frontier Corps or Pakistan Army units.

The allegations of extra-judicial killings generally do not/not extend to what are locally referred to as "the disappeared" -- high-value terrorist suspects and domestic insurgents who are being held incommunicado by Pakistani intelligence agencies including the Inter-Services Intelligence Division (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) in their facilities," the cable said. Noting that the revenge for terrorist attacks on Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps personnel is believed to be one of the primary motivating factors for the extra-judicial killings, the report said cultural traditions place a strong importance on such revenge killings, which are seen as key to maintaining a unit's honour.

"Senior military commanders have equally and repeatedly stressed their concerns that the court's are incapable of dealing with many of those detained on the battlefield and their fears that if detainees are handed over to the courts and formally charged, they will be released, placing Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps troops at risk," the cable says.

"This fear is well-founded as both Anti-Terrorism Courts and the appellate judiciary have a poor track record of dealing with suspects detained in combat operations such as the Red Mosque operation in Islamabad and have repeatedly ordered their unconditional release," the cable observes.

According to the cable, the US Embassy in Islamabad assessed that the lack of viable prosecution and punishment options available to the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps is a contributing factor in allowing extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses of detained terrorist combatants to proceed.

"There may be as many as 5000 such terrorist detainees currently in the custody of the Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps from operations in Malakand, Bajaur, and Mohmand.

As operations in these areas and other parts of the FATA proceed, this number will increase," the cable said.

NWFP Police have also been implicated in the abuse and extra-judicial killing of terrorist suspects that they believe responsible for attacks on police stations and individuals in the run-up to the conflict, the cable said.


First Published: Friday, December 03, 2010, 00:24

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