PAKISTAN: Army officers acknowledged that a disappeared person was in their custody but the courts failed to recover him –>AHRC
Issue of missing persons needs to be resolved as early as possible otherwise this will lead to our society like it used to be in Nazi Germany where life was made impossible for opposing voices. If someone has done some crime then there are courts and constitution to judge not military kidnappers who themselves have a hisotry of constitutional violations and betrayals with the country. Extra-judicial killings and illegal abductions will not serve any good cause.
Below is a report from Asian Human Rights Commission and it leaves some serious concerns in any mind with some sense of justice and humanity.
Human history has taught us a very good lesson which is often used as a slogan :
No Justice No Peace !
PAKISTAN: Army officers acknowledged that a disappeared person was in their custody but the courts failed to recover him–>AHRC
The case of the disappearance of a master tailor exposes how the army is involved and the weaknesses of the judicial system
The Asian Human Rights Commission has received the details of the saga of disappearance of a master tailor who was arrested on two occasions by army personnel and how since October 2001 his whereabouts are unknown. The high officials of the Pakistan army including Corps Commander of Balochistan province, a major general, the governor of the province and above all of them, the chief of the Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) had confessed on the holy Quran in 2003 that the victim was in the custody of the ISI and that he would be released after the investigation.
The Judicial Commission to probe the cases of missing persons has also submitted a report to the Supreme Court of Pakistan that Mr. Bangulzai, the master tailor, was in the custody of secret services of Pakistan.
The dilemma is that since 2001 to date, the higher courts, the governments of the federation and Balochistan have failed to recover him because of the involvement of the army and its intelligence agencies in his disappearance.
Mr. Ali Asghar Bangulzai 50, the son of Ghulam Nabi was arrested the first time by secret services on June 1, 2000 from his tailoring shop. After 14 days he was released. After his release it was found that he had lost his memory because of the severe torture he had endured. He could not even recognise his own house where he was born. After his recovery he revealed to his family that he was kept in a torture cell at the basement of army’s Kulli camp situated at Quetta cantonment. During his confinement he was kept blindfolded at all times; his hands were cuffed and he was frequently suspended by the wrists by officials of ISI. This is according to his family members from he later told them. After his release for almost one year he was not able to run his tailoring shop.
Mr. Bangulzai was the resident of Chaki Shahwani, Sariab Road, Quetta, capital of Balochistan province. His tailor shop was in walking distance from his home. The army was suspicious that many people were visiting his shop and that he must be involved in militant activities.
Again, on October 18, 2001 Bangulzai was arrested along with his friend Mohammad Iqbal by men who came in army vehicles. Iqbal was released after 22 days he told Bangulzai’s family members that he was in an army torture cell. The family tried to contact the local officials and army command office for his whereabouts but they refused to meet the family. In early 2002, a constitutional petition was filed in the Balochistan high court, during hearing Mr. Iqbal recorded his statement that Bangulzai was in Kulli Army camp. He also took part in a press conference in Quetta Press Club with Bangulzai family members with regard to his arrest .The family members also submitted an application to SHO (Station head officer) Sariab Police Station with a request to lodge an FIR (First information report) about his illegal arrest and disappearance but the police refused to file the FIR because of the involvement of military intelligence agencies. The family of the victim also filed an application before the High Court to order police to file the FIR but the court could not help the family.
On April 27, 2002 family members of Bangulzai met the then Major General Abdul Qadir Baloch , who was Corp Commander of the province to inquire about the whereabouts of the Bagulzai. The family was given assurance that they would be informed about his whereabouts. The Corps Commander sent two officers from military intelligence to the house of victim on May 15, 2002 who told the family that Bangulzai was safe and in the custody of the ISI. As the interrogation is completed he would be released but officials refused to allow the family members to meet him.
In the meantime the family members in desperation tried to meet members of the parliament. They were able to meet Mr. Hafiz Hussain Ahmad MNA (Member of National Assembly) who took the family members to meet with the head of ISI (Inter services intelligence) Baluchistan, Brigadier Siddique. During the meeting Brigadier called Colonel Bangush and asked him to bring the file of Bangulzai. After seeing the file Brigadier Siddique congratulated the family and said that Banguzai was in their custody. During different meetings the family members of Bangulzai insisted that they wanted to meet with him but every time they were told that there was no need as he would be released soon.
On October 4, 2003 Brigadier Siddique asked the family members of the victim to provide clothes for him because all arrangements had been made for his release.
For the whole one year family members waited for his release and then they adopted the peaceful protest. Bangulzai’s children left their studies and went on a token hunger strike camp in front of Quetta Press Club for the safe recovery of their father and to record their peaceful protest. The camp was there for one year.
On July 14, 2005 the Baluchistan High Court on the pressure from lawyers and civil society took suo motto notice and directed the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Chilton Town, Mr. Wazeer khan, to investigate and register an FIR for Bangulzai’s disappearance by the state intelligence agencies. During the hearing seven persons recorded their statements that army personnel had arrested him and that had assured them many times he would be released from army custody. As usual on the pressure from army Sariab Police Station Quetta refused to register the FIR.
On March 2006 Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, the member of national assembly, visited the token hunger strike camp of family members of Bangulzai and told the local news papers representatives that the head of ISI (Inter services intelligence) Brigadier Siddique has himself acknowledge before him that Bangulzai is in their custody and also assured him that he will be released soon. Hafiz deplored the attitude of ISI officers for lying and misguiding the people.
On February 2007 the family members of Bangulzai submitted a petition in Supreme Court of Pakistan, in which Hafiz Hussain Ahmad’s written statement was submitted in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
In continuation of their efforts the family members filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in February 2007 where Mr. Hafiz Hussain Ahmad, the MNA, has submitted his written statement that ISI had assured him several times that Bangulzai is in their custody. The Supreme Court then ordered on January 31, 2010 that the FIR of his disappearance should be filed. The court also directed the police to file the FIRs of other disappeared persons also.
The Joint Investigation Team to probe the cases of disappeared persons, formed by the government of Pakistan, has also submitted a report to the Supreme Court that according to the testimonies of the eye witnesses and other supportive statements Bangulzai was in the custody of state intelligence agencies.
A Judicial commission to probe the cases of the missing persons, formed by the Federal Government on the instruction from Supreme Court has also came to the conclusion in the March 2010 that after recording all the witnesses that Bangulzai was arrested by the Pakistan secret services and that he was in its custody. The report was duly submitted to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
During the hearing of the Judicial Commission, Mr.Hafiz Hussain Ahmad (MNA) has recorded his statement that the Brigadier Siddique, head of the ISI in Balochistan province, has acknowledge to him that Bangulzai was in their custody and soon he would be released. Mohammad Iqbal who was arrested with Bangulzai also recorded his statement that they were arrested by secret services and that Bangulzai was in their custody. The other witnesses as well recorded their statements that Brigadier has several times accepted in front of them, and Corps commander Qadir Baloch sent his two (MI) (Military intelligence) personnel to the victim’s family and said that he was in the custody of an Intelligence Agency.
It is appalling that 11 years after his arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention by the intelligence agencies Bangulzai’s whereabouts are still unknown. None of the institutions and officials who were involved in his disappearance has been put on trial despite the fact that they have admitted his detention 11 years ago! Judges hearing disappearances cases have stated in court that any intelligence officer involved in the disappearance of an individual should be placed on trial but this has never happened. Not one has ever been punished.
In the presence of all the evidence that he was illegally arrested and kept incommunicado in an army torture cell by the ISI, the weakness of the country’s justice system is blatantly evident before the powerful military and security agencies. His disappearance by the military is contravention of the basic rights guaranteed by the constitution of Pakistan for example:
Article 4 — The right of individuals to be dealt with by law, Article 10–safe guards as to arrest and detention — the arrested person should be produced within 24 of his arrest before the magistrate, Article 14 — no person should be tortured, Article 15 — freedom of movement and Article 25- all citizens are equal before the law.
The case of Bangulzai is a clear demonstration that the laws of the country do not apply to the military and intelligence agencies. When it comes to providing justice to the ordinary citizen in the face of these institutions the judiciary remains silent.
The Asian Human Rights Commission urges that Mr. Bangulzai should be released immediately from the captivity by the army and its intelligence agencies and that the officials responsible for this arrest and disappearance are prosecuted. Furthermore, the compensation must be paid to his family for the ordeal suffered by him and his family members.
By Sohail Khan – The News
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday directed the government to submit a reply to the report of the Judicial Commission on missing persons.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, resumed hearing into the case of missing persons, allegedly taken for interrogation by the intelligence agencies on their alleged links with militant groups. Their relatives claimed that they were picked up by intelligence agencies but were never brought before the court.
During the course of hearing, Justice Javed Iqbal observed that 2011 would be the year of missing persons’ recovery. Additional Attorney General K K Agha submitted before the court that the judicial commission had recovered 134 missing people so far, adding that the contents of the report were classified; therefore, it should not be made public.
K K Agha further said that as instructions were being taken from the government on the report of the commission, therefore, it should not be made public. Hashmat Habib, the counsel for one of the petitioners, submitted that there were missing persons whose heirs were not coming to the forefront. At this, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed observed that these people were reluctant due to the fear factor.
Justice Javed Iqbal observed that as the apex court had traced the missing prisoners of Adiala Jail, it would also trace out the missing persons in the case as well. He observed that there should be a tribunal for the hearing of missing persons’ cases as recommended by the commission.
Amina Masood Janjua, the spouse of missing Masood Janjua, while appearing before the court, submitted that since April 2010, 100 more people had gone missing. She further said that relatives of the missing persons had been subjected to mental torture as they had not yet been informed about the whereabouts of their near and dear ones. Meanwhile, the court, after seeking a reply from the government on the report of the commission, adjourned the hearing till next Monday.
Supreme Court is proving again and again that at least there is one institution in the country on which we can trust.
RPPs return Rs 2b on SC orders
ISLAMABAD – The counsels for Guddu and Naudero projects assured the Supreme Court on Wednesday that Rs 2 billion taken in advance would be returned with the mark-up.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heading a three-member bench comprising Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday said, “Everybody should follow suit on matters of the national exchequer.”
Justice Ramday remarked that many problems of the society could be solved with the cooperation of bar and bench.
Dr Pervez Hassan, counsel for Pakistan Power Resources (PPR), and Shahid Hamid representing Walter Power International (WPI) informed the court that money had been arranged and would be returned to Central Power General Company Ltd (CPGCL) during the course of the day, which, according to the media reports, was paid by Wednesday evening.
The court directed Abdul Malik Memon, CEO GENCO, to conduct an inquiry into the case and submit a report, fixing responsibility upon the officers or the persons on whose instructions GENCO agreed to make the payment to both the companies without keeping facts and circumstances of the case in front of them, in the next date of hearing, and adjourned the case till December 14, 2010.
The bench heard fraud in payment of Rental Power Projects detected by NEPRA (Human Rights Case No.56712 of 2010) and alleged corruption in Rental Power Projects (Human Rights Case Nos. 7734-G/2009 & 1003-G/2010). Syed Najamul Hassan Kazmi appeared on behalf of NEPRA.
According to the statements, PPR and Walters Power International had paid Rs 405.9 million (Rs 405,992,246) earlier and the balance amount of Rs 301 million (Rs 301,058,766) today (Wednesday).
Further RPP is paying Rs 120 million (Rs 120,000,000) on account of interest/mark-up on advance payment, while WPI submitted that an advance payment of US $10.1 million (US $11,036,666) and interest amount of US$ 0.18 million (US$ 180,753) are being paid.
NEPRA has declined to approve a fresh tariff for Naudero-II after discovering that the project’s equipment belonged to Guddu rental power project, which had been dismantled illegally.
The Government paid 14 per cent advance of US $11.28 million to Pakistan Power Resources (PPR) in April 2010 for Naudero-II, while the same company was paid 14 per cent advance payment of $10.15 million for the same machines for Guddu rental power plant having a capacity of 110 MW.
Intelligence agencies confirm custody of 11 missing prisoners – The Nation
Pakistan intelligence agencies have confirmed before a bench of the Supreme Court that eleven missing prisoners of Adiala Jail have been in their custody. Raja Irshad, the counsel of the agencies, during hearing of the missing persons case confirmed before a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that the missing prisoners are alive and have been in custody of the Military Intelligence (MI) and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). The counsel further said that these persons were arrested under military act during various operations and more people are being arrested. He further said that the military, ISI and MI are subordinate to the judiciary under the constitution and law.
By Sohail Khan
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the heads of secret agencies, directing them to submit a report by November 25 pertaining to 11 prisoners who had gone missing from the Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.
A three-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, was hearing a case of 11 missing prisoners of the Adiala Jail, allegedly handed over to secret agencies by the jail authorities.
The court issued notices to the heads of secret agencies, including the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Military Intelligence (MI), seeking their comments on the disappearance of the 11 prisoners.
Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq again told the court that the whereabouts of the 11 missing prisoners could not be found. He informed the court that he had approached the concerned authorities, including the Interior Ministry, but they denied having any information about the whereabouts of the missing prisoners.
Online adds: It may be recalled that it is for the first time in history that notices have been issued to heads of intelligence agencies in a case.The AG said that intelligence agencies personnel wanted to tell the court something secretly.
“The case is in open court. No talks can be held with the intelligence agencies in separation. Evidences are available under whose custody the prisoners are kept. The court should not be forced to go to extreme end. If matter proceeds further, more complications will arise. The country cannot afford a clash among the institutions. Action will be taken against all the persons involved in this incident indiscriminately. All will have to appear after the reply is received. It can lead to dire consequences if the matter is not resolved soon,” the CJP remarked.
The chief justice noted that it was not appropriate for him aswell as other judges to meet them in chamber and observed that everyone should respect the court and avoid disharmony. He said the apex court was responsible for safeguarding its constitutional obligations, keeping in view Articles 9,25,4 and 10-A of the Constitution.
The CJP asked the AG, “You are Amicus Curiae of the court, therefore, you should play your role for resolution of this problem.” When the court resumed the hearing after the intermission, the AG said the intelligence agencies were holding the same stance that these prisoners were not in their custody.Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing till November 25 after issuing notices to heads of the intelligence agencies.
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Musharraf, you are a hypocrite. You are the Abdullah Bin Ubai of our times. Each and every word that you have uttered on the occasion of launching of your party, sounded simply hollow because your dirty past is like an open book before us. We hate you for what you did to our country, our people and our brothers in Islam.
It is unbelievable that a man like this ageing commando, whose stink cannot be avoided from even thousands of miles, because of his tainted past and whose long list of crimes against Pakistan, its people and humanity have no limit, had the cheeks to promise a great future like his past, as if we lived in heaven during his tenure.
Pervez Musharraf’s remarks show that the self-exiled ousted dictator continues to live under the illusion as if he is still an extra-constitutional ruler of this country and perhaps the most popular leader here. One wishes that such illusions go on with him to enable him to come to Pakistan and face the trial for his long list of crimes, some of which conspicuously include the abrogation of Constitution, the selling of Pakistani nationals including the country’s daughter Dr Aafia Siddiqui to America for dollars, the Lal Masjid massacre, Nawab Akhbar Bugti’s murder, the May 12, 2007 bloodshed, removal and arrest of respected independent judges of the superior judiciary, strangulation of the Pakistani media and his post-9/11 policies that compromised the country’s sovereignty and led to all-time high US interference in our internal affairs.
How can he raise the slogan of “Pakistan first” when for his own self and to perpetuate his rule, he first toppled an elected government in Oct 1999 and then imposed extra-constitutional emergency in Nov 2007 and removed all independent judges? How can he promise the moon to the people in future when he did not produce even one single watt of electricity, constructed no dam, did nothing to ameliorate the lot of the poor, politicise the bureaucracy like never before during his nine-year misrule?
How can a man like Musharraf talk of the Quran and the Sunnah when he orchestrated the massacre of Lal Masjid and killed hundreds of innocents, sold the Muslims including our own nationals, including Aafia Siddiqui, became a part of the US’s so-called war on terror, facilitated the killing of hundreds of thousands of Afghan innocents, changed the Islamic syllabi to the pleasure of his foreign masters and proudly mention all this shame in his autobiography
– ‘In The Line of Fire’?
Musharraf struck with Benazir Bhutto’s world-infamous NRO deal just to stick to power for five more years. It created turmoil and chaos in the country and the nation is facing its repercussions today. This deal has given boost to corruption in our country.
Musharraf is welcome to Pakistan. His illusions would turn into disillusions as soon as he arrives back. Expecting a sea of people welcoming him upon his return, he may find himself behind the bars. No matter from where he gains the strength, the people of Pakistan want to see him punished for the crimes he committed. Our disappointment from the present rulers, do not make Musharraf a choice of future. He tenders an apology for what he called his past mistakes but we demand his trial under Article 6 of the Constitution and other offences that he committed. A day before the launching of his party, he warned that the country is at risk of a new military coup and suggested the recipe of the Army’s constitutional role in politics. He termed it the only solution if Pakistan wants stability and a system of check and balances in democratic structure.
Instead of being ashamed of what he did in the past and how he misused the institution of the Army and the military led intelligence agencies, including the MI and ISI, to strengthen his misrule at the cost of the national interest, Musharraf has set his eyes on the military under General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to get a strong shoulder for his re-entry into the Pakistani politics.
It took General Kayani one full term, three years, to redeem the lost respect of Pakistan Army but now the retired general is alluring the military to help him getting to the corridors of power from backdoor, which has been his hallmark in the past, too.
Only an insane person can shout for a constitutional role of the Army to run democracy. But by saying such freakish things, this ageing military commando wants to hit the headlines back home and to create his soft corner in the institution of Pakistan Army that he grossly misused to prolong his dictatorial rule.
Perhaps he does not realize that a lot of water has flown down the bridges. He also does not realise that he has not many takers, whether among civvies or in the khakis. But the old man has gone crazy. Nature will take its course if he returns to Pakistan, but despite the hot air that he blew in London, he is a coward and will never dare to do so.
Lets see what happens? Hopefully some justice will be done with them. The behavior of the army seems to be as if they are untouchables and no one can ask anything about their wrong actions.
Judicial commission to probe disappearances AWN
By Nasir Iqbal
ISLAMABAD: A high-powered judicial commission comprising three retired superior court judges will be set up soon to look into the highly emotive issue of missing persons, the Supreme Court was informed here on Thursday.
“I have received the summary for the establishment of the commission,” Attorney General Anwar Mansoor told a bench comprising Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Mohammad Sair Ali and Justice Tariq Parvez that is hearing cases of a large number of missing persons whose families have been running from pillar to post since 2005.
The attorney general said the commission would be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court and two retired high court judges would be its members.
He said the commission could call any senior officer of the armed forces or Rangers whose name had surfaced in connection with any missing person.
Its orders would be binding on all departments and institutions, he said.
Praising the setting up of the commission, the bench expressed willingness to take action against people held responsible by it.
“If a department is found committing an illegality, the Supreme Court will not condone its acts,” Justice Javed said.
An unpleasant incident took place during the proceedings when Advocate Hashmat Habib, pleading the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, accused the Defence Ministry’s Legal Director Lt-Col Sarfraz Ahmed of having threatened to teach him a lesson for maligning defence institutions.
Although Lt-Col Sarfraz later tendered an unconditional apology before a visibly disturbed court that had re-assembled after retiring for a few minutes, the officer explained that he had asked the counsel not to drag the army which was defending the borders into the case, rather point out specifically if he had any grievance against any agency.
“The sanctity of this court is like a God’s house and our job is to protect whosoever enters it. How could you threaten him?” Justice Sair asked. He said the officer had brought the court into disrepute.
“The army does not belong to you alone but also to us,” Justice Tariq said.
When the court asked about a report submitted by the Foreign Office that 6,000 Pakistani nationals were languishing in foreign jails, the attorney general sought two weeks time to tally the figure with other reports. The Foreign Office was also asked to make its report more comprehensive.
“A lot of grievances of the families of the missing people would be resolved if they are allowed to visit their relatives,” Justice Tariq said.
Justice Javed said the record of missing people available with different departments should be referred to the judicial commission.
Amina Masood Janjua, chairperson of the Defence of Human Rights group, who has been campaigning for the release of detained people, including her missing husband Masood Janjua, requested the court to continue hearing the cases instead of transferring them to the commission.
However, the court observed that the decision to set up the commission was a good step because now there would be two forums.
“You are not aware of stringent procedures; the SC is not a forum to record evidence; we have to find a recourse leading to a solution,” Justice Sair said.
Justice Javed said the phenomenon of missing persons should end now.
He said parliament had taken cognisance of the issue and “let’s see what kind of legislation it makes”.
When Mrs Janjua requested the court to issue directives to parliament for the early setting up of the commission, Justice Javed said parliament was supreme and no one could make it accountable unless an attempt was made to change the basic structure of the Constitution. “We are product of the Constitution framed by parliament,” he said.
He said parliament was entitled to bring any kind of legislation and the court could not cross certain barriers.
Justice Sair said the apex court would monitor and supervise the commission.
“The commission will start its proceedings from where we leave,” Justice Javed said, adding that the court would not dissociate itself from the process.
Justice Sair said the move would mean sharing the burden and not shifting it.
When Justice Javed recalled that 237 missing people had been traced, the attorney general said certain people whose names were on the list had gone for jihad and many were hiding abroad to evade arrests.
Referring to the missing people of Balochistan, Justice Javed said the court would not allow anyone to take political mileage out of the issue. He asked the media to verify facts before highlighting the cases because exaggerated figures created panic.
Asma Jehangir, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission (HRCP), asked the court to make the intelligence agencies accountable for their involvement in the cases.
Rawalpindi SP Kamran Adil said senior officers of the armed forces had recorded their statement before a joint investigation team constituted to locate Mr Janjua.
Advocate Raja Bashir, representing the defence ministry, said Mrs Janjua’s contentions were based on hearsay, what she had heard from others and not seen herself.
He said an FIR had been registered and recording of evidence at an appropriate forum would start soon about her husband’s disappearance.
Mrs Janjua said her objective was not to embarrass any institution, but to get her grievance addressed.
The court summoned the Islamabad chief commissioner and police chief and complete record about the number of casualties during the July 2007 Lal Masjid standoff when girl students of Jamia Hafsa had occupied the adjacent Children’s Library in protest against the razing of seven mosques. Several people were killed in battles between security personnel and students at the mosque.
The court also clarified that Dr Aafia’s case did not fall in the category of missing people and media- and public-driven campaigns were not suitable for judicial findings.
Justice Javed observed that the sincerity of the government should not be doubted because it had engaged good counsel to defend Dr Aafia in the US.
The bench adjourned the hearing for two weeks.
Court temporarily adjourns hearing :The Nation
By: Farehia Rehman
ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily adjourned hearing of the missing persons case for almost ten minutes after an army man threatened a senior lawyer. According to details, Legal Director of the Ministry of Defence, Lieutenant Cornel Sarfraz threatened to Hashmat Habib during the break for commenting about the Army in the court.
After the break as proceedings started again, Habib Advocate appeared before the court and told about the incident occurred during the break. On which, three-member bench headed by Justice Javed Iqbal took strict notice of it and asked Sarfraz to tell the court why he did this.
On this, he told, “I did not threaten him in this sense, I was just asking him not to pass comments about Pakistan army in the court”. On which, Justice Javed Iqbal remarked that it is their Army too and commenting against the Army is contempt of the institutions.
He continued that the institutions could have good and bad qualities. Services of the Pakistan Army and secret agencies are appreciable, he added.
“We will protect everyone, whoever enters the court”, he said and further added that the people, who are taking part in the proceedings, are talking with facts and figures.
He said that the court was like mosque, where everyone could get protection and justice and everyone should respect the court.
Over the situation Justice Muhammad Sair Ali adjourned the proceedings for ten minutes saying that they could not continue till the matter was resolved.
As proceedings started after ten minutes, Lieutenant Cornel Sarfraz apologised for his behaviour, which was also accepted by the Senior Advocate Hashmat Habib.
Mina sent a really good poem for Dr. Aafia Siddiqi in the comment area of our post:
kitni ajeeb si baat hai ke
vo ekk guriya marmarri
apne hi mulk se hai biqqiiii
or lutt rahai hai gharri ghari
vo is watan ki beeti hai
or us watan ki bandhani
vo asmaan ko takti rehti hai
khuda ko dhoondti rehti hai
kiya mojze ajj bhi hote hain
kiya farishte ajj bhi hote hain
koi aa ke bachay lee mujh ko abb
Pakistani to gheerat per marte hain ,
kitni ajeeb si baat hai ke
betiyaan to sanjhi hoti thein
ab to jiss ki beeti hai
bass usi ki beeti hai
baqqi to sabb lutere hain
joo noch noch kar khate hain
jane qayamat kabb aye gi
shayed jabb Afia marr jaye gii……………
Saturday, 24 October 2009 11:22
The Pakistan Government has been ordered to secure the release of scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from US custody.
Originally published in Pakistan, By Yvonne Ridley
The Islamabad High Court made the ground-breaking directive in a move welcomed by her family, supporters and anyone who wants to see justice delivered to a woman who has been trapped in a hellish existence for the last six years.
However, not everyone is happy that Justice Raja Saeed Akram has ordered the government to work towards bringing Aafia home.
As I discovered a few days ago during a visit to Pakistan it seems her ex-husband Dr. Muhammad Amjad Khan has been briefing against the mother of his three children.
In an exclusive interview given to Karachi journalist Aroosa Masroor at The News, Dr. Khan said that most claims about Aafia, propagated to garner public support and sympathy, are untrue.
Why he chose to break his silence after six years is not immediately obvious … unless you buy in to the crazy theory that he was instrumental in his wife’s arrest and disappearance.
Of course it would be outrageous and defamatory to suggest Dr. Khan was involved and I certainly have no evidence to suggest otherwise, but what intrigues me is why this man would want to try and deliberately mislead the public as he did in his first on-the-record interview.
I am not sure what are his motives but, in a conference I gave at the Islamabad National Press Club this week I threw out a challenge to Dr. Khan to either put up or shut up.
In his February 18 interview he said: “Aafia’s release cannot be secured by propagating stories based on falsehood and deception,” and then he went on to tell a lie so blatant that I can no longer remain silent, and here’s why.
He reckons that the iconic photograph of Aafia, slumped to one side with eyes closed, was a stunted up picture taken by her sister Fowzia years ago. He even goes into fine detail explaining her injured mouth, saying that Aafia’s upper lip was cut by a milk bottle in an accident.
Fowzia, he says, warned him at the time that if he tried to divorce Aafia, she would use the picture against him alleging him to be an abusive husband. “It was made to appear in the picture that Aafia was badly injured. Today, the same picture is being circulated in the media to claim that Aafia was tortured for years in Bagram,” he states in The News interview.
There’s no hesitation in this statement – he is very clear about the origins of ‘that picture’. Well I am also clear about the origins of ‘that picture’ because it was taken by the office of the Governor of Ghazni in July 2008.
How do I know? Because the governor told me so himself, and then showed me copies of that and other pictures taken of Aafia on the day of her arrest that he stored on his personal laptop. If you check this unedited footage shot by film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani who accompanied me on my investigations to Pakistan and Afghanistan last year, the origins of that iconic picture become very clear.
That is why I stood up in a press conference a few days ago and called Dr. Khan a liar, and then invited him to sue me “in a court of his choice” for slander and defamation. As a journalist I know the seriousness of making such a statement and I do not make it lightly but I also mean what I say and say what I mean.
In the meantime, I will let you – the viewer – make your own judgment about the photograph of Dr. Aafia. Perhaps you have your own theories about why her ex-husband would lie. Here is the clip
The divorce was, without doubt, a very bitter experience for both sides as most divorces are. Bitterness can remain a lifetime companion, but at the end of the day Dr. Aafia is the mother of his three children and as such she deserves his support and respect.
If he can’t give it, then I suggest Dr. Khan returns to the shadows once more and stops briefing against his wife.
Sharing details of his failed marriage with Dr. Aafia, serves no purpose although I have to question why Dr. Khan signed a legal agreement whereby the custody of the three children was given to Aafia after their split, if he really thought his wife was (as he portrays in the article) … a violent, unstable woman in the sway of jihadists.
In the meantime two of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s children – Marium now aged 10, and six-year-old Suleiman – are still missing.
Perhaps that is something which would concern any parent, but Dr. Khan states casually: “I am sure they are around Karachi and in contact with their maternal family as both Aafia and the children were seen around their house here and in Islamabad on multiple occasions since their alleged disappearance in 2003.
“They may be living under an assumed identity just like Aafia and Ahmed had been living [as Saliha and Ali Ahsan] for five years before they got arrested.”
He said Dr. Fowzia’s claim that the children are missing after being removed from the Bagram prison in Afghanistan “may be an attempt to attract sympathy of the government and the people and distract its attention from the real location.”
He also attempts to pour cold water on claims that Aafiya was held in US custody, including Bagram for five years – but how would he really know?
I, on the otherhand, have eye witness accounts that the woman known as Prisoner 650 who was held in Bagram for years is none other than Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
Even the US authorities, after months of denial, finally supported my statements and admitted that Prisoner 650 was indeed a female detainee in their custody.
The only dispute we have now is the identity of Prisoner 650. The US authorities say she isn’t Aafia but refuse to say who she is and to which country she was returned.
I, on the other hand, now have an interview statement given freely by former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed confirming that Prisoner 650 and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui are one in the same. This man saw her during his time in Bagram and has made a positive identification. His evidence is, in my opinion, irrefutable.
I now understand Aafia’s case is going to be submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague and that the government of Pakistan is making serious efforts on this issue.
In the meantime the case against Aafia will be resumed in New York later this month after a psychologist and physician give their reports regarding her health and if she is fit to plead.
The court hearing is, in itself, illegal and I’m not sure how it can go ahead. I say that on the basis Aafia, is after all a Pakistani citizen who is being tried for an alleged offence carried out in Afghanistan. She is only standing trial in America because she was put on a rendition flight to America – and was certainly not extradited.
* Yvonne Ridley is a patron of the human rights organisation Cage Prisoners and works as a broadcast journalist. her weekly show The Agenda goes out every Friday evening 8.07(GMT) on Press TV – her website is www.yvonneridley.org
References to this aricle:
Interview with Binyam Mohamed:
Interview in The News: