`US govt told to ignore reports of rights abuses by Pak Army`

The US govt was advised to keep reports of human rights violations by the Pakistani Army under wraps by its then envoy to the country Anne Patterson.

Washington: The US government was advised to
keep reports of human rights violations by the Pakistani Army
under wraps by its then envoy to the country Anne Patterson,
who also suggested that the focus should be on assistance to
Islamabad which was a close ally on the war against terrorism.

This was disclosed by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks,
which released a secret US cable from the American embassy in
Islamabad that was signed off by Patterson.

"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
the cable, much before reports of such abuses appeared
on YouTube and other websites.

The cable dated September 7, 2009 and labelled as
Secret/Nonforn (Non-foreign) was part of over 2,50,000 secret
US documents which WikiLeaks claims to have in its possession.

The US, which has charged the WikiLeaks with 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 should 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....," the US cable said.

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

The detainees involved were in the custody of Frontier Corps
or Pakistan Army units," it said.

The allegations of extra-judicial killings generally
do 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.

PTI

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