Serious human rights violation by Pak Army: WikiLeaks

Last Updated: Friday, December 3, 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.

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 00:24

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