Original Articles

COAS orders probe on internet footage

The call for the investigation by the army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, reverses the army's initial reaction when the video first surfaced last month. At that time, military authorities called the video fake and denied that any Pakistani soldier could be involved in extrajudicial killings.
The new tough line from the White House in the report to Congress comes as the president Barack Obama faces increasing pressure from fellow Democrats to get tough with Pakistan. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, suggested in a speech last week that the Pakistani government is selective in its crackdowns.
The report is also extremely tough on Pakistan’s human rights record.
“Over 1.5 million people are still displaced from Pakistani military operations to combat insurgents in the northwest; and there was a lack of progress on improvements in human rights,” the report said. “Reports of gross violations of human rights continued. There was some evidence that the Pakistani military has made initial efforts to stop these abuses. However, despite U.S. engagement on the issue, reports of ongoing abuses continue to surface.”
The U.S. officials said last week they had asked Pakistan for information about the Internet video purporting to show Pakistani troops lined up in a firing squad shooting bound and blindfolded men in traditional Pakistani clothing.
The video, which has been circulating on the internet for weeks has renewed long-standing concerns about military human rights violations during operations against the Taliban.
Human Rights Watch this year briefed the U.S. State Department and congressional officials about evidence of more than 200 summary executions of suspected Taliban sympathizers by Pakistani soldiers in Swat, a former Taliban stronghold.  Pakistan denied the allegations.

According to an article published in guardian If authenticated it could jeopardise $2bn (£1.2bn) in US military subsidies to Pakistan, under a law that prohibits funding of foreign armies with a record of gross human rights abuses.

Announcing the board of inquiry this morning, General Kayani said it would determine the veracity of the video, including the identity of the executioners wearing Pakistani army soldiers’ uniforms.

Appearing to take a tough stance, he said: “It is not expected of a professional army to engage in excesses against the people whom it is trying to guard against the scourge of terrorism,” he said.
But he added that in the past Pakistani militants have posed as soldiers.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Friday ordered an inquiry into an Internet video that shows men in military uniforms executing six young men in civilian clothes. The COAS said in a statement that he has ordered setting up of a board of inquiry to establish the true identity of uniformed personnel and the veracity of the video footage.
‘The board will be headed by a Major General, a two star officer of Pakistan Army. He will be assisted by two / three senior officers with the experience of investigating into such incidents. Necessary technical expertise will be made available to the board’, the statement said.
General Kayani referred back to his Command Directive on the issues of Human Rights and Extra Judicial Killings, and stated that such violations of his orders, if true, will not be tolerated.
He categorically stated that it is not expected of a professional army to engage in excesses against the people whom it is trying to guard against the scourge of terrorism.
Expressing his determination to take strictest possible disciplinary action against the perpetrators, if identified to be soldiers of Pakistan Army, he termed the incident as unacceptable under any circumstances. He emphasized that Rules of Engagement (ROE) are sacrosanct.
He, however, cautioned against reaching hasty conclusions about involvement of Pakistan Army soldiers. He pointed out that in order to hide their identities, cause confusion and malign Pakistan Army; terrorists have previously been disguising themselves as Pakistan Army soldiers during a number of attacks including the one on GHQ.
General Kayani also directed commanders at all levels to be vigilant and follow the Army policy of zero tolerance in such cases in true letter and spirit.
The Pakistani military has earlier said the incident was staged to discredit Pakistan, and the authenticity of the video could not be confirmed.

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said he would take “the strictest possible disciplinary action” if the shooters are found to be Pakistani soldiers, the military said Friday. But he cautioned against a rush to judgment, saying that militants have, in some cases, disguised themselves as soldiers during attacks to “hide their identities, cause confusion and malign” the army, according to a statement from the military’s Inter Services Public Relations department.

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Exxtra-Judicial killings: Tell the public what you know

A couple of video clips have been circulating of army personnel involved in extra-judicial killings and beatings of captured militants. For several days the Pakistani media offered no coverage of the news of the circulating videos. Only after foreign journalists started reporting on the events did the local media care to publish the news.

The duplicity is annoyingly obvious. Articles published in the local press, contain clear denials and claims that the videos are conspiracies against the military. There is no suggestion up till today, of any investigation or any explanation.

However, to the foreign press the same news comes with eitherPakistani officials promising to investigate, or muted denials the incidents or retired Pakistani officers claiming that the videos are authentic.

For one, it’s not only the Pakistan Army that is being maligned by these videos. The Army serves Pakistan, of which every citizen of Pakistan has ownership. If the videos are authentic, then the people of Pakistan have a right to know why the name of their country is being tarnished, what will come off the perpetrators, and what efforts will be made to make sure that such cases do not take place again. If the videos are fake, then the people of Pakistan have a right to know who is making these forgeries, and how they are going to be dealt with.

There has long been a chorus of accusations surrounding extra-judicial killings. The HRCP estimates up to 273 deaths. Either way, remaining silent and not even offering the Pakistani people a transparent insight into the to an institution that society warrants to take up arms is offensive to the spirit of the constitution and the claims of discipline within the military that so many people are proud of.  Can we please have some accountability?

What are we doing about Nato attacks?

The recent escalation in drone and helicopter gunship attacks that left three Frontier Corps personnel dead, predictably lead to mass outrage. This is not the first time a cross border attack has left Pakistani personnel dead. 11 were killed in a similar incident in 2008. Then nothing happened, and today nothing has happened. While NATO trucks were stopped from crossing the Torkham Border.

Everyone hailed Pakistan’s action as a display of our sovereignty; all the while the border at Chaman remained open. Were we actually stopping the NATO supplies as a sign of protest, or were they stopped for their own protection?

The military runs Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan, however, the military doesn’t seem to clarify what our stance towards hot pursuit by NATO forces, the claims that the CIA runs a mercenary Afghan army that crosses into Pakistan, and reports that NATO may pursue retreating militants up to 6 miles into Pakistani territory is.

The military seems content to allow Rehman Malik to make statements about possible reaction to NATO’s “aggression” and how it is so “intolerable”.

The people of Pakistan have a right to know what is going on.

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/1979/what-we-dont-know-will-hurt-us/

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Related articles:

Brutal extrajudicial killings by the Pakistan army – where is the media?

https://lubpak.net/archives/23532

Pakistan Army Said to Be Linked to Swat Killings – New York Times

By JANE PERLEZ and PIR ZUBAIR SHAH
Published: September 14, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/world/asia/15swat.html?_r=1

Pakistan army accused of extrajudicial killings in Swat – BBC Urdu
By Syed Shoaib Hasan
16 July 2010
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-10667545

Pakistan: Extrajudicial Executions by Army in Swat – Human Rights Watch
Military Abuses Undermine Fight Against Taliban
JULY 16, 2010
http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/07/16/pakistan-extrajudicial-executions-army-swat

Pakistan’s Army accused of extra-judicial killings – Reuters
By Phil Stewart
WASHINGTON | Mon Apr 5, 2010
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6340HN20100405

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Junaid Qaiser

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  • ROGUE ARMY OF PAKISTAN
    The horrifying video reported by Jane Perlez in an article of New York Times on September 29, 2010, showing Pakistan Army officers mass-killing six innocent blind-folded young men with their hands tied-back, has shocked the world. The way the Pakistani soldiers shot and killed the young men some of them as young as 14 years and then shooting at short range on those who were still alive and wounded, to finish them, dwarfs the atrocities committed by chetnik Serbs in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

    Brigadier (Rtd) Javed Hussain and Lt. General Talat Masood, who are considered to be pro-military security analysts have termed this video as authentic and credible. This particular video is from Swat, which is relatively accessible area. The crimes committed by Pakistan Army in FATA cannot be brought to surface as the journalists and International human rights organizations are barred from entering these areas. “A Pakistani intelligence official, who did not want to be identified discussing the issue, said he had seen other such videos and heard reports of executions larger than the one in the video”, the report goes on to says. Some reports, particularly from Waziristan, that the State Department was reviewing were increasingly specific and credible, a senior US Administration official is reported to have said. If proper action is not taken in time by International Community, the 3000-10000 prisoners rounded up by Pakistan Army during their fake operations against insurgents, can also be killed extra-judicially by Army in the same pattern.

    Ironically, the so-called free media of Pakistan is criminally silent on these terrifying images, reported by New York Times. Pakistani media which is tirelessly quoting Western sources when it comes to stigmatizing the democratically elected governments and even the Judiciary. But, when it comes to the Military Establishment, they do not have the courage to expose the true face of it. International Press Freedom Organizations like Reporters without Borders (RSF), should also take note of it and embolden the media to write on this issue.

    I have been highlighting the atrocities of the Pakistan Army in Swat and Tribal Areas of Pakistan in my several articles published earlier, fell on deaf ears and blind eyes in American and European political and diplomatic circles. In my Article titled “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is burning”, published on August 26, 2010, a detailed description of the situation is made. Mass graves discovered at different locations in Swat as confirmed by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW): reminds of the Serb genocide of 1995 in the city of Srebrenica in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Many more undiscovered Mass-graves are waiting to be unearthed, if and when International Human Rights Organizations will be allowed to enter FATA. The magnitude and scale of torture, killing and forced disappearances by Military Establishment of Pakistan dwarfs the Chilean Dictator, General Augusto Pinochet. The Supreme Court of Pakistan is powerless, as its orders to produce missing persons before the court for trial are thrown into dustbin by Military Establishment. Credible media reports suggest that some 2,500 people were in detention in the first half of 2010…the numbers subjected to enforced disappearances could be much higher. These detainees are not held under any clear legal framework under Pakistan’s law, a report by Amnesty International published in July this year, confirms. Hundreds of thousands of FATA’s nearly four million residents have fled the increasing brutality of the Pakistani Taleban and of the government’s military response.

    The reason, resembling the state-sponsored terrorism and genocide of innocent Pashtuns by the Pakistani Military was that I see the same patterns and tactics employed by Pakistan Military, and as well as the Serb forces which committed the worst genocide of the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica in 1992-95 war.

    This Pakistani video is just like the one released in 2005 in which Serb Army was shown killing 6 innocent civilians in cold blood with their hands tied in the back, in July 1995. Before the release of that video Serbian general public was denying the genocide. The release of that video made the facts dawned upon Serbs that genocide perpetrated by Serbs was a reality. Now, the Pakistani people should also accept the fact that Pakistani Military has committed genocide of Pashtuns. The Serb forces buried the dead bodies of these civilians at different locations in mass graves in Bosnia to escape the searching eyes of International Community. The victims of genocide in Swat and FATA have also been buried at different locations as safe as the out-skirt of Islamabad to cover-up the crimes.

    Pakistan Military followed the same patterns learnt in Bosnian War on those Pashtuns who were not ready to help Military become a fodder of war against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. It is not a coincidence, as Pakistani Military was very closely engaged in Bosnian war by providing Arms and ammunition to Bosnian Army to fight the Serbs. Instead of learning lessons from Serb atrocities, Pakistan Army is committing the same mistake of genocide on its own citizens. Lt. General (Rtd) Javed Nasir has already accepted the fact in front of Lahore Hight Court that he played an important role in delivering Arms to Bosnia, breaching the Arms embargo of UN. Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan, the father of the Nuclear Programme of Pakistan was also actively involved by personally supervising these Arms deliveries to Bosnia. The orders of the International Criminal Court in Hague, to produce Javed Nasir before the court in order to find the facts, have been resisted by Pakistani authorities. US and EU are also silent on account of political reasons to bring the culprit to the book. The involvement of Pakistan Army in Drugs-smuggling and distribution to run its secret operations, selling nuclear secrets to Libya and Iran, earning huge commissions on controversial arms-deals and killing innocent French Engineers at Karachi in 2002 when they could not receive the promised kick-backs, are few examples which depict the real face of this rogue army. General Aslam Beg (former Army Chief) Major-General Asad Durrani, General Hamid Gul (former chiefs of the ISI), and people like Colonel Imam are still working actively for Pakistan Army to train and arm Taliban to kill Americans and NATO forces in Afghanistan. There is an un-ending list of crimes committed by Pakistan Army. Strong action needed to be taken rather than using bits of information and reports for political reasons to force Pakistan Army to co-operate with US and Allied forces for small tactical military gains, is hypocritical.

    US civilian Administration and Pentagon believe that the video is real and there are more videos and concrete material which shows the extra-judicial killings by Pakistan Army of the prisoners and innocent civilians. They also claim to take the issue with Pakistani authorities. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, reported to have raised the reports of extrajudicial killings with the head of the Pakistani Army.

    These apparently political gestures of US seems to be just an exercise in vein as there are clear cut laws and procedures to be followed. American law requires that the United States cut off financing to units of foreign militaries that are found to have committed gross violations of human rights. Instead of applying this law, US has already transfered more than US $ 10 billions to the rogue Pakistan Army. By cutting and stopping this military aid along with civilian development aid, US can force Pakistan to stop this genocide of Pashtuns and bring the culprits to the book.

    Another option is try all the responsible including the Army high Command who ordered the killings of civilians in the International Criminal Court. If the Serbs who committed genocide are brought to Hague to face justice then why Pakistan Army Generals cannot be tried in Hague? What hinders International Community from bringing these clean-shaved uniformed Taliban to Hague to try them for crimes against humanity and genocide? If these Generals are above the law? Is the International Justice system selective? Ample evidence is there to prove that, as different International Human rights Organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Pakistan International Human Rights Organization have investigated these atrocities and have presented the evidence in their respective reports.

    It is the moral, political and diplomatic responsibility of the International Community particularly, US and EU to take this issue seriously and put pressure on Pakistan to stop the state-sponsored genocide of Pashtuns. Pakistan government and Army must be subject to criminal prosecutions under international criminal law, in relation to war crimes, crimes against humanity, or other crimes under international law. If swift action is not taken then the situation is going to get out of control and the whole of Pakistan will see a horrific blood bath un-imaginable in the history of Pakistan. Pashtun Nationalist feelings are on rise and the Pashtun code of Pakhtunwali call for BADAL (revenge) on those who have committed genocide of Pashtuns. If the Punjabi dominated military think that they will pass through these crimes un-hurt, are living in paradise of fools. Pashtuns will take the war to their homes and will take the revenge, binding on them according to their historic traditions.

  • Three ex-Army generals found guilty of Rs 25 bn scam By Rauf Klasra Saturday, October 02, 2010 Shawwal 22, 1431 A.H.
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/02-10-2010/Top-Story/1022.htm

    ISLAMABAD: A nine-year-old Rs 25 billion scam of the Musharraf regime has returned to haunt his three favourite ex-Army Generals, who administered the Pakistan Railways in 2001, former ISI chief Javed Ashraf Qazi, Saeeduz Zafar and Hamid Hassan Butt.

    A 20-member special parliamentary committee of the National Assembly, formed by Speaker NA Dr Fahmida Mirza on April 22, 2008, investigated the lease of PR’s hundreds of acres of land of Royal Palm Golf and Country Club, Lahore, to a private party. It has now recommended to the government to register criminal cases against these ex-generals and confiscate and auction their property to recover the losses before cancelling the deal.

    These generals were summoned by the committee to give their side of the story but they failed to convince the members of their innocence. This is the major finding of any parliamentary committee since the return of democracy in 2008. The special committee has recommended immediate termination of the contract signed in 2001 and appointment of a new ad hoc committee for the interim period. It recommended fresh leasing of the Royal Palm Golf Course in an open auction so that maximum revenue could be generated for the Pakistan Railways, which according to its calculation might exceed Rs 40 billion.

    This correspondent had exposed this scam in 2001 when it had landed in the Public Accounts Committee, after Auditor General of Pakistan had claimed that the then army generals were not ready to hand over the secret documents of the deal signed with their favourite party, where the father-in-law of General Pervez Musharraf’s son used to work as a consultant. The then railways minister Javed Ashraf Qazi had “condemned” this correspondent for filing this story.

    The committee has also recommended prosecution of all the four members of the executive committee of the Railways who had executed this deal with the patronage of these Army generals, and confiscation of their property too.

    The parliamentary inquiry report, which took more than two years to complete, has now revealed that the contract was achieved through fraud, cheating and misrepresentation. The parliamentary inquiry team headed by MNA Nadeem Afzal Chann submitted its report in the National Assembly on Friday. Other members of the team included Tariq Tarar, Tariq Shabir, Nasir Ali Shah, Nauman Islam Sheikh, Fauzia Wahab, Noor Alam Khan, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq , Abid Sher Ali, Raja Mohammad Asad Khan, Abdul Majeed Khanan Khail, Malik Bashir Awan, Haji Rozud Din, Pervaiz Khan, Sheikh Waqas Akram, Marvi Memon, Arbab Zakaullah, Engineer Shaukat Ullah, Gulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi, Iqbal Mohammad Khan and the minister for railways.

    The report said its members discussed and investigated the matter of allotment of Railways land to the Royal Golf and Country Club, Lahore, on nominal price and recommended legal action against those held responsible.

    The committee members have found the then minister for railways Lt General Javed Ashraf Qazi, former secretary and chairman Railways Lt General Saeeduz Zafar, ex-general manager Railways Major General Hamid Hassan Butt and former secretary railways Khursheed Alam Khan responsible for this faulty deal, which according to the committee caused Rs 40 billion loss if calculated on the current market price.

    The 25-page inquiry report available with The News said, “We (members) strongly feel that the contract was secured by the present lessee through deceit and fraud in connivance with the then high-ups of the Pakistan Railways and is not in accordance with the approved terms or the advertised terms. It is illegal and void, especially in the light of the Supreme Court’s decision on the privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mills.”

    The report said the deal was signed in indecent haste the day the executive committee approved the terms and conditions of the deal. The officials and three retired generals who appeared before the committee failed to explain how the entire work, such as approval of the deal, preparation of contract documents and signing of the same, were managed in one day. “It appears that it was actually a private contract between those retired generals and the lessee,” the report said.

    It said the inclusion of Phase-II in the deal was also illegal, not based on any expression of interest and was not mentioned in the advertisement. It was to be completed within five years but eight years have lapsed and no revenue has accrued to the Pakistan Railways. The reasons of the delay given by the party are baseless. The Phase 111 is also illegal, it added.

    The report said the revenue share of the golf course should be from gross revenue, including everything as approved by the executive committee. According to the Railways record, the lessee has repeatedly committed defaults and its contract is liable to be terminated on this sole ground.

    The replies given by Railways ex-employees, ex-chairman and lessee are not satisfactory and did not address the issues at all. The lessee has been occupying the land meant for Phase-II and III without paying any rent. The committee calculated a net present value of the land, which substantiates that it was a very poor deal. The committee agrees with the opinion of the DG Audit Railways that even if we accept the value of the land to be Rs 3.2 billion as was claimed by General Hamid Hassan Butt in his deliberations before the Committee members, even in that case the Railways shall suffer a loss Of Rs 25 billion due to this deal because the rent is not calculated according to the Railways code of engineering which provides that the annual rent should not be less than 15 per cent of the market value of the land. The contract is therefore detrimental to public interest, the committee observed.

    This correspondent called General Javed Ashraf Qazi to get his point of view. His wife attended the call on his mobile phone and said he was out for dinner. Meanwhile, talking to The News General (retd) Saeeduz Zafar said he was not in a position to give a comprehensive statement, as he had not read the report yet. But he defended himself and said many important legal issues were involved and this contract was awarded after doing proper homework and following the laws of the land. General Zafar claimed that it was wrong to assume that all those who were running the Pakistan Railways in 2001 were directly responsible. He said a special committee comprising railways officials was set up to monitor the whole process and ensure transparent award of the contract.

    He confirmed that he was summoned by the special committee to give his side of the story. General Saeed claimed that this deal was also put before the Public Accounts Committee in 2006 and its members did not find anything wrong in it. He pointed out that a Senate body too had probed the deal and it too failed to find any flaws in it.

  • Paramilitary forces refused to hold audit of expenditures
    http://www.sananews.net/english/2010/10/06/paramilitary-forces-refused-to-hold-audit-of-expenditures/

    ISLAMABAD (SANA): The representatives of the Auditor General of Pakistan have revealed during the special committee meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the para military forces have refused to hold audit of their expenditures.

    The representatives of the armed forces have opined that the Public Accounts Committee is an advisory body and it could not issue directions regarding the audit of expenditures.

    The special committee meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Convener Zahid Hamid at Parliament House and the committee decided to take the matter in Public Accounts Committee.
    The committee reviewed the pace of implementation of its previous decisions taken about the audit objections of various ministries.

    The representatives of the audit department revealed that Rangers, Coast Guards, FC and other paramilitary forces have refused to hold audit of their expenditures.

    Representatives of the Auditor General said that when they informed the authorities about the clear cut decision of PAC regarding their audit the forces personnel said that PAC is an advisory body and it could not issue directions regarding the audit of these organizations.

    The representatives of audit department also informed that they had also contacted Interior Ministry and the ministry told that it has issued directives to hold the audit of their expenditures to paramilitary forces.

    Zahid Hamid directed the audit department personnel to inform PAC about the issue in a written form.

  • Paramilitary authority refuses to submit account details to AGP Wednesday, October 06, 2010 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\106\story_6-10-2010_pg7_31

    * Military officer says PAC just a recommendatory body, not empowered to issue directions to any public office

    By Zeeshan Javaid

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Auditor General’s official on Tuesday informed a special committee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the paramilitary authority has refused to submit its account details to the AGP for an audit.

    While giving a briefing to the PAC committee, which was held at the parliament house with MNA Zahid Hamid in the chair, a senior audit official from the AGP said that a colonel ranked military officer had rejected the direction of PAC about the submission of military accounts for an audit before the AGP.

    During a recently held official meeting of military personnel with Interior Additional Secretary Asif Nawaz in the chair, the military officer remarked that PAC was just a recommendatory body and nothing more. It was not empowered to issue directions to any public office including the army.

    He added that despite clear directions issued by the NA body, paramilitary forces including the Sindh Rangers, Satluj Rangers, Frontier Constabulary and others had not been ready to submit their account details before the accounts monitoring body.

    Committee Chairman Zahid Hamid categorically directed the audit officials to submit their concerns in a written form to the PAC secretariat. The special committee also expressed its disappointment over the unauthorised opening of a bank account and non-surrendering of Rs 238,932 by the Health Ministry during the fiscal year 1990-91.

    The audit official informed the committee that a grant of Rs 264,000 had been drawn by the Children’s Hospital under the Health Ministry during the fiscal year 1990-91 and deposited into a commercial bank without prior approval of the Finance Division.

    He further added that a balance amount of Rs 238,932 had not been surrendered at the end of the financial year, but was kept for utilisation during the next fiscal year of 1991-92.

    The committee directed the Health Ministry to find a way to settle down an objection para related to spending funds provided by UNICEF without any proper record.