US concerned over extra-judicial killings in Pakistan

US expresses concern over allegations of human rights violations in Pakistan.

Washington: The US has expressed serious concern over allegations of extra-judicial killings and human rights violations in Pakistan`s troubled areas particularly in the Balochistan province.

In a report to the Congress, the State Department assured US lawmakers it would ensure that no US military aid reaches any Pakistan Army unit which is accused of any serious human rights violations.

The unclassified version of the Congressional-mandated report, dated November 23, has been obtained by The New York Times and was posted on its website on Thursday.

"The State Department remains concerned about allegations of gross violations of human rights, including extra-judicial killings, by Pakistani security forces; humanitarian organisations` access to detainees and displaced persons, and cases of disappearances in Balochistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and other conflict zones in Pakistan," the report said.

At the end of September, a video appeared on the Internet showing men in Pakistani military uniforms apparently committing extra-judicial killings of young civilians.

Days later, another video appeared on the Internet showing men in Pakistani military uniforms beating prisoners in what appears to be the Swat Valley region of Pakistan, the State Department said in its eight-page report.

The US embassy in Islamabad will continue to support the investigation of allegations of gross violations of human rights by Pakistani security forces, it said.

According to Foreign Assistance Act provisions, the US is restricted from providing assistance "to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country" if the Secretary of State has "credible evidence" that such a unit has committed "gross violations of human rights”.

The Leahy Law governs the delivery of security assistance to security forces around the world, including in Pakistan.

"We have made significant efforts to ensure that the provision of security assistance in the form of equipment is also not directed to units implicated in gross violations," it said. The State Department said it is working to improve its understanding of which units are in final receipt of FMF (Foreign Military Financing) equipment.

In its report, the State Department expressed its concern about the reported incidents of disappearances, particularly related to political dissent in Balochistan as well as those of individuals from the conflict-affected areas.

NGOs have reported thousands of disappearances, mostly in Balochistan. Hundreds of cases are pending in the courts and remain unresolved, it said.

"Our efforts to address disappearances have resulted in some progress by the Government of Pakistan. In 2009, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik publicly acknowledged that approximately 1,291 individuals were missing in the country... the Supreme Court of Pakistan has also held hearings on petitions filed regarding the case of missing Baloch persons," the report said.