Pakistani government and ICRC at odds over access to detainees and applicablity of Geneva Conventions
In interviews, several Pakistani officials, tribesmen, and one militant said the torrent of strikes has forced residents to stay indoors and deny friends shelter, fearing allegations of spying. The attacks have forced militants to ditch truck convoys and cellphones, and, in the case of the Pakistani Taliban, shutter an office in the town of Mir Ali.
Above all, residents said, the stepped-up strikes have perpetuated an entrenched culture of clan rivalry and retribution. With scant proof, militants are purging suspected moles, and their willingness to do so has made the accusation a valuable tool for people seeking revenge for land disputes or other personal enmities.
“They are just spreading terror by killing anyone,” said Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, who commands all Pakistani troops in the northwest, including the semiautonomous tribal areas.
USUN is requested to inform the focal point on August 25, after both USUN and Islamabad have had a chance to inform Pakistani officials of our views, of our opposition to the de-listing request on behalf of JUD and Muhammad Saeed. In its communication to the focal point, USUN should refute the assertion in Saeed’s and his legal representatives claim in the focal point de-listing petition that “there are no grounds for placing Saeed and JUD on the Consolidated List and the material relied upon is incorrect and baseless” and note that we stand by the information included in the statements of case we submitted (co-sponsored by the UK and France) to the UN 1267 Committee to add JUD and Saeed to the Consolidated List. USUN should further state that we have seen no evidence of a change in circumstance warranting de-listing of JUD or Saeed.
The cable includes a detailed ‘non-paper’ which reveals why the US “intelligence community” wanted to put the organisation on the terrorist list.
Legal experts say militants are walking free because police investigators lack basic evidence-gathering techniques to build solid cases. Investigators eager to get terrorism investigations off their desks are also prone to framing Pakistanis on trumped-up charges. More often than not, judges see through the frame-ups and acquit the defendants.
Any overhaul of Pakistan’s criminal justice system, legal experts say, should start with a wholesale modernization of the country’s outdated legal code so that prosecutors have more authority over terrorism investigations. Currently, when police submit a weak, flawed terrorism case for prosecution, criminal law in Pakistan does not give prosecutors the discretionary power to reject it.
The Danish Embassy bombing case is an ideal example. Tayyab’s star witnesses were two Islamabad police constables who said they had seen two men in a car signal the car bomber to pull up to the embassy wall. Moments later, the car bomb exploded, blowing a gaping hole in the embassy wall. The men in the car sped off.
No arrests were made until a year later, when three men were charged in Islamabad’s next-door city, Rawalpindi, with murder. The Islamabad constables said when they saw two of those men in a lineup, they identified them as the men who had signaled the embassy bomber.
Even Tayyab acknowledged having doubts about the constables’ claim of remembering the faces of two men they had seen only momentarily a year before. The judge was just as skeptical.
“It was in my mind that it’s unsafe to rely on this,” Tayyab says. “And the judge agreed. He said, ‘It’s unnatural. They had no ample opportunity to note the features of these people. How can you say this is possible?’ “
Sharif directed the lawyer representing the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), present in the courtroom, to get a report and comments from both the ministries by October 19. The seven Pakistanis include Awal Khan, Fazal Karim, Iftikhar Ahmad, Hamidullah Khan, Abdul Haleem, Saifullah Younas and Rehmatullah. No news about the Pakistan reply has been received yet.
Sultana Noon, a member of ‘Reprieve’, a (UK based organisation dedicated to ensuring enforcement of human rights of prisoners), moved the petition for the recovery of the detainees. The petitioners’ counsel Salman Akram Raja submitted that the Pakistani citizens, held in different jails of Pakistan from where they were abducted were handed over to foreign countries without any reason.
Raja alleged that Pakistani authorities played a role in the abduction and extradition of the citizens to foreign countries. He said that an ordinary citizen suspected of being involved in any purported wrongdoing deserved a chance to prove his innocence rather than being handed over to foreign powers. He asked the court to directthe two ministries to make a representation as required by law on behalf of the abducted citizens and arrange for their release and extradition to the country. Raja also requested the court to register criminal cases against those involved in the abduction of the citizens.