ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday said his party would take the issue of drone attacks to the International Court of Justice and appreciated the resolve of the founder of a UK-based legal action charity, Reprieve, to knock on the doors of international courts against such strikes.
He said war was too serious a matter to be left to the generals, while a grand Jirga from Waziristan, through a unanimous resolution, called upon Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take note of the drone attacks and hold an independent and transparent probe into the matter.
The Jirga was co-organised by Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights to raise awareness about the drone assaults and firm up a line of action on how to halt them. The Jirga demanded of the Pakistani military to stop its operation in Waziristan and said the tribal people were capable of tackling the menace of militancy on their own.
The largely-attended forum urged the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Special Envoy on Extra Judicial Killings Christof Heyns to help halt the US hegemony, mass killings of tribal people and undermining of Pakistan’s sovereignty by drone attacks.
Various participants cautioned that after failing in Afghanistan, the US was looking for an excuse to attack Pakistan. Speakers heaped praise on Reprieve founder Clive Stafford Smith, as well as on Shahazad Akbar of the Foundation of Human Rights for their endeavours to legally fight the drones’ issue and highlight it at different forums. Jemima Khan, the ex-wife of PTI chief Imran Khan, also attended the Jirga session.
Imran Khan, during his speech here at a local hotel, quoted France’s ex-prime minister Georges Clemenceau and said war was too serious a matter to be left to the generals. He said generals were handling the tribal areas’ policy with the civilian puppet government having no say at all.
Imran said the situation was no different in the US where generals, such as Petraeus, handled the Afghan policy and had no plan-B. The PTI chief said the anti-terrorism war was adding to the number of militants and intensifying militancy, and those who lost their relatives looked for revenge, either becoming militants or supporting the militancy.
Later, Imran addressed a rally of his party here at the D-Chowk near parliament and said every minute of the National Assembly proceedings consumed Rs66,000 but its members could not get a unanimous resolution against the drone strikes implemented.
Imran said it was a matter of shame that sessions of the lower house of parliament were costing the national exchequer so much but in return legislators had failed to come up to the nation’s expectations.
Amid chants of ‘shame, shame’, the PTI chief said the APC resolution had clearly said that if the US did not stop drones, the Nato supply would be blocked. “Did the MNAs do so? Instead, drones continue to hit Fata,” he said.
He called President Asif Ali Zardari ‘Sadar Zardari, Bari Bemari’ and said: “We have no hopes in him, since he is a beneficiary of the NRO, which has bound him to silently support drones and remain loyal to the US”.
Similarly, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, whom he called the Dengue Brothers, have also disappointed everyone, Imran said. He asked why they were holding a public meeting in Lahore whereas Zardari was sitting in Islamabad.
PTI workers warmly welcomed Clive Smith, when Imran invited him to express his views on the matter. “What we need is your support and a pat on the back to take forward the issue. We need evidence,” he remarked.
Clive Smith said: “We will be going to the US, France, Germany and other European countries to raise the issue”. He described drone attacks on Waziristan as a criminal offence.
Earlier, the rally participants endorsed the resolution, adopted by the Waziristan Grand Jirga, by raising their hands. The Jirga’s resolution confirmed that US spy agency CIA was responsible for the drone attacks in Pakistan and such strikes were being carried out by CIA agents sitting in Pakistan and abroad, which was a flagrant violation of the country’s laws as well as international laws.
The proceedings were bumpy, as at one point, Kamran Khan, an MNA from Fata, and a tribal elder, Khan Marjan, exchanged hot words (mostly in Pashto), accusing each other of being non-serious about drones.
The images of collateral damage caused so far by drone strikes were shown on a projector and saddened the audience. Mutilated bodies of children and elderly people were painful for the viewers who watched with disbelief.
The resolution noted that Fata, particularly the North and South Waziristan Agencies, were part of Pakistan and its inhabitants were Pakistani citizens under Article 1 of the Constitution. However, the state and its institutions had failed to safeguard the fundamental human rights there such as the right to live. It also noted that attacks were mostly inflicted during late night so that the tribal people could remain in grip of fear and insecurity.
The resolution confirmed that drone assaults were mostly carried out on residential areas and homes, resulting into the deaths of innocent women and children.
APP adds: Addressing the rally, Imran Khan condemned what he called the ‘criminal silence’ of non-government organisations (NGOs) on drones that claimed to be champions of human rights. He asked the government to quit if it could not take action in this regard and said civilian casualties because of the drones were increasing with each passing day.
He said the judiciary was independent, but some people were a major hurdle in the way of the implementation of the Supreme Court’s decisions. He demanded the implementation of the resolution adopted in the recently-held All Parties Conference. “After coming into power, the PTI will introduce an economic system that will protect the rights of consumers and investors, and will convince foreigners to invest in Pakistan,” he added.
NEW YORK: UN Human Rights official Richard Falk wrote on his blog that there had been an “apparent cover up” by American authorities.He added that most media were “unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events” on 9-11, despite it containing “gaps and contradictions”.
And he described David Ray Griffin, a conspiracy theorist highly regarded in the so-called “9-11 truth” movement, as a “scholar of high integrity” whose book on the subject was “authoritative”.
Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, described the comments as “preposterous” and “an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attack.” But Ban said that it was not for him to decide whether Prof Falk, who serves the organization as a special investigator into human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories, should be fired by the UN.
Vijay Nambiar, Ban’s chief of staff, said this was up to the human rights council, a 47-nation body based in Geneva, Switzerland, that was created by the UN in 2006.
UN Watch, a pressure group that monitors the organisation, has called for Prof Falk to be sacked. Hilel Neuer, the group’s chief executive, described him as “a serial offender with zero credibility”.
The row came as the new Republican-led US Congress opened an inquiry into “urgent problems” with America’s contribution to the UN, including its membership of the human rights council.
Comments : After killing thousands of people ,with the help from Pakistan Army and NATO, Pentagon/CIA still is not able to prove their claims about 9-11. War Crimes? War Tribunal? Justice for those who died on 9-11 and who died after that in the name of 9-11? UN Charter for Human Rights?This not a war against terror or terrorism. This is a war against humanity, justice and peace.
PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005;The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger–>AHRC
After the 18th February 2008 elections it was expected that the newly elected government would try to improve the human rights situation and give some relief to the families of victims. But this proved to be another shattered dream of people blinded by their faith and hope, which soon turned into disbelief on the system for many.
It is amazing that in the time of elected government with new army chief and intelligence chiefs no actions were taken against those involved in these illegal and inhuman activities during the former dictator’s rule.
The statements by the Asian Human Rights Commission given below raises more questions about the seriousness of our government to solve the issue of missing persons.
PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2009
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005
The Asian Human Rights Commission has received further details in the case of Ms. Zarina Marri, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Balochistan province, who has been held incommunicado in an army torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province and used as a sex slave, please see our statement; http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/1843/
The officials of the education department of Kahan have disclosed that Ms. Marri was a teacher at a government middle school in Kahan, Kohlu district, she was registered as Zarina Bi Bi and she was trained as a Junior Vocational Teacher. She was among those people who were transferred from Kohlu, Kahan, Sibi, Hernai, Much, Kohlo, Dera Bugti, Sabsilla, Bhambhoor, Loti, Dhaman, Pir Koh, Spin, Tangi, Babar Kach, Tandori and Sangan of the Balochistan province during December 2005 and July 2006 when the military government of the then President/General Musharraf was using aerial bombardments to defuse the nationalist movement of Balochistan against the construction of cantonment areas. On 14 December 2005, paramilitary troops accused the people of the area of firing eight rockets at a paramilitary base on the outskirts of the town of Kohlu, a stronghold of the Marri tribe, while President Pervez Musharraf was visiting it. After the visit of President/General Musharraf, within three days of the rocket firing incident, the paramilitary forces began attacking vast areas including the Kahan. It is reported in the media that the military government used the Pakistan air force for bombarding the area. During the fighting between local nationalist militants and the government forces particularly, due to the aerial bombardments, the local population started migrating to other places including to Punjab and Sindh provinces. Please also see urgent appeal of AHRC;
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2006/1872/ dated July 21, 2006.
After some days around 429 persons left the Kahan, district Kohlu, and migrated towards Dera Ghazi Khan district, Punjab province, Zarina Marri and her parents were also among the caravan. Since then there is no trace of the caravan of 429 persons. After some months people tried to search the missing people and some army officers deputed at the Kohlu district told the people of the area that so many persons were killed in the fighting between the government forces and militants and also in aerial bombardments. But after the revelation from Mr. Munir Mengal, managing director of Baloch language television channel, to Reporters without Frontiers (RSF) that Zarina Baloch was in military torture cell at Karachi and was forced in to sexual slavery, the concern of the people of Kohlu, Kahan, and Dera Bugti has risen about the people of the 429 persons which includes more than 70 women, including many young women, who may be used as sex slaves by the Pakistan military.
The government of Pakistan has still not initiated any serious efforts to investigate the case of Ms. Zarina Marri, despite, of continuous demonstrations in several parts of the country including, Islamabad, capital of country for the recovery of Zarina Marri from the military torture cell at Karachi and halting the business of making young Baloch women work as sex slaves by the Pakistan army. The government’s ignorance of the serious crimes by the military officers during Musharraf’s regime is evidence for the people in the country that the present government still does not have the power to investigate the military misdoings.
The case of Miss Zarina Marri has ignited the narrow nationalist and secessionist feelings of the ethnic Baloch nation which can easily turn into a bloody mutiny against the state if the cases of sex slavery by the military torture cells are not investigated. The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government to initiate a probe for the recovery of 429 people who are missing since December 2005. The government should also bring the persons who made Marina Marri work as a sex slave before the law regardless of how powerful they are or whether they are military persons.
For further information please see:
PAKISTAN: The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger
Source : http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/2400/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2010
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger
The life of a student leader who was arrested by state intelligence officials is in danger. It is apprehended that he might have been killed. The government of Balochistan says that he was released on January 22, 2010, but his family members have said that he has not yet returned home. They have inquired after him at all local police stations, asking if he was booked under another case, but have not been able to find him.
Mr. Zakir Majeed, a student leader, was allegedly abducted by state intelligence agents on June 8, 2009 from Mastung, near Quetta. Majeed is the senior vice chairperson of the Baloch Student Organization, Azad. His alleged abductors drove up in two cars without number plates and asked the young man a few questions, saying that they were intelligence agents.They took Majeed away with them in their cars without making any charges. One car was a Toyota Vego, the other a Toyota Surf SSR. After UN Special Rapporteurs on Disappearances wrote letters about Mr. Majeed’s disappearance, his release was announced by the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) For more details of the case, please see the following link, dated June 10, 2009; http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3175/.
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has taken up Mr. Majeed’s case after the submission of the WGEID form by the AHRC. After an intervention was made by the WGEID, the government announced on January 22, 2010 that Mr. Majeed had been released. The Balochistan High Court also ordered that an FIR (First Investigation Report – a legal document for police investigation) be filed for Mr. Majeed. Until this point, the police refused to register the young man’s disappearance, and a case of habeas corpus was up for regular hearing before the High Court of Balochistan. On January 27, 2010, a police official at Khuzdar Police Station of Balochistan, asked the younger brother of the victim, Mr. Waheed Majeed, to file the FIR before the Mastung Police Station. He did so, but the FIR was not entertained. After an intervention was made by higher-ranked police officers, the FIR was finally lodged. On February 2, 2010 Mr. Aslam Bizenjo, Provincial Minister for Irrigation telephoned Mr. Waheed to inform him that according to the list provided by the NCMC, his brother had been released. The Provincial Minister then asked him to speak with Mr. Akbar Durrani, the Home Secretary of the Balochistan government for further details. The Home Secretary confirmed that Mr. Zakir Majeed had been released on January 22, according to the NCMC list published on its website.
These conflicting pieces of information about Mr. Zakir Majeed’s disappearance have created a great deal of confusion in the minds of Mr. Majeed’s family and the human rights activists who are working for his release. In many past cases, the bodies of the disappeared have been found abandoned on roadsides after courts have ordered for their release, or family members of the disappeared person in question testified in courts that the arrest was done by intelligence agents.
The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the provincial government of Balochistan and federal government of Pakistan to secure the safe release of Mr. Zakir Majeed immediately. Since government officials have already confirmed Mr. Majeed’s safe release, we call upon these officials to be held accountable for these confirmations of safety, and urge these officials to take direct action to reunite Mr. Majeed with his family.
Enforced disappearances of civilians and the perpetual lack of thorough investigation by state officials has become so common that the sanctity and dignity of each human life is being ruthlessly compromised in the name of personal or professional gain. The AHRC calls upon the government of Pakistan to take a strong stand against corruption at all levels of its justice system and take steps towards rebuilding the rule of law in the country.
KARACHI: The trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has taken a bizarre turn when a witness’s testimony came out to be different from the one given by American official Captain Schnieder, reports DawnNews.
Furthermore, an FBI agent testified that they did not find Dr. Aafia’s finger-prints on the rifle.
The US federal court in Manhattan heard Aafia Siddiqui and 5 other witnesses. Dr. Aafia told the court that she is being misrepresented by the prosecutor’s statement regarding the things she has said about America, that only negative thoughts are being portrayed.
According to DawnNews’ correspondent in New York, Masood Haider, the court heard witnesses who saw the incident including an Afghan interpreter, Ahmed Gul who became a green card holder in 2009 and was processed by the American government and now lives in New York. Abdul previously claimed that he saw Dr. Aafia shoot at the US soldiers.
There was also a cross examination of witnesses and forensic experts and FBI. On the second day of the trial, four witnesses came under cross-questioning.
In the previous hearing, Captain Schnieder told the court that Dr. Aafia shot at him while she was on her knees.
But on the second day of the trial, Ahmed Gul told the court that Dr. Aafia was standing when she fired the gun and the gun was pointing at some other official.
The Afghan interpreter also told the court that he has been granted a green card and has been settled in America by the officials who brought him to testify in the trial.
During the hearing, one FBI official told the court that they found Dr. Aafia’s fingerprints on the documents but not on the gun, Masood Haider said.
Justice Javed Iqbal in his statement few days ago rightly pointed out to the fact that cases like missing persons pose real threat to democracy not the verdicts of Independent judiciary. In his statements he further criticized the performance of the government institutions. He said no government institution is working properly and the system is on the verge of disaster. He further said someone had to intervene to save the system and huge cry was raised every time when court does it.
The issue of missing persons is considered as the main reason behind the attempted removal of CJP Iftikhar Chaudhary twice by Musharraf’s government. According to HRCP estimates there are 198 reported missing persons since 2007 out of which 66 are from the deprived province of Baluchistan. The estimated figure of unreported cases is much higher. In a talk show recently Asma Jehangir, Chairperson of HRCP told that in 2009 there were 30 new cases of missing persons came to their knowledge.
After the 18th February 2008 elections it was expected that the newly elected government would try to improve the human rights situation and give some relief to the victim families. But this proved to be another shattered dream of people blinded by their faith and hope which soon turned into disbelief on the system for many.
Not only that all the people missing are not recovered but this heinous crime of illegally abducting the people is going on and hurdles are being created to trace the already missing. In a recent television interview Dr. Fawzia Siddiqi , sister of Dr. Aafia Siddiqi said the real danger from the release of Dr. Aafia is felt by those who are part of this evil network which kidnaps people and sell them. It is amazing that in the time of elected government with new army chief and intelligence chiefs no actions were taken against those involved in these illegal and inhuman activities during the former dictators rule. Government is using delaying tactics in Dr. Aafia case and has showed it’s inability to take the case in International Court of Justice.
In war hit areas of NWFP the situation is probably worse than other areas as there is no free media access and also judicial authority is almost none in many areas due to military control. Not only young but old and aged are being picked up by the security institutions in the name of war against terror. In a case filed by Syed Iqbal Kazmi, representative in Pakistan of Human Right Commission South Asia (HRCSA), an eighty years old man Wazir was picked up by Mohmand Rifles on September 2, 2009.Mohmand Rifles personnel picked up Wazir alleging that his son was involved in terrorist activities. In another case police and intelligence agencies in a joint raid picked up Usman Ali on January 29, 2009 from his house on suspicion of having relations with Taliban. Baluchistan is also facing similar situation though 20 of missing persons were released on political pressure But still there are many including people like Pasand Khan Mandai from Baluchistan Worker’s Party were picked up by agencies during 2009 and their cases are still pending.
The statement by Justice Javed Iqbal clearly reflects the growing sentiments in Pakistani Society about the current democracy. Justice Javed Iqball said,” What type of democracy do we have wherein fundamental rights of the people could not be ensured?” The remarks were given while he was heading a three-member bench of the apex court, hearing petitions of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and others.
It seems that current so called democratic government has completely failed to protect the rights of our people. The situation demands real seriousness and sincerity, it is already too late. People are already fed up with inflation, corruption, load shedding and same old deceptions and lies. Government needs to take some real measures to rectify it’s mistakes and the mistakes committed during the time of the former dictator Musharraf otherwise things will go to the point of no return.