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User Name: Asif_Haroon_Raja
Full Name: Asif Haroon Raja
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Another bizarre allegation of extra-judicial killings against Pakistan


Asif Haroon Raja


The US has earned the dubious reputation of pursuing double standards and making unsubstantiated allegations against a country which it wants to browbeat. These unholy tactics are applicable to friends and foes alike except for Israel, India and western world. Ironic part of the story is that it doesn’t feel an iota of embarrassment in leveling accusations on aspects which are applicable to the US the most. Recently the US had the audacity of leveling a charge of extra judicial killings in Swat on Pakistan. Several US officials have expressed their deep concern. They have based their observations on New York based Human Rights Watch, which claims it has mounting evidence of over 200 summary executions in Swat Valley. Its spokesman Malinowski said that pace of extra judicial killings in Pakistan was not slowing down. He added that the Army was targeting civilians voicing support for Taliban or providing food and shelter. He made a reference to US law which bans assistance to units involved in this practice.


The matter had been aired in September 2009 soon after the successful Rah-e-Rast operation in Malakand Division and Swat and further drummed by US spokeswomen Asma Jilani, a known critic of Army, establishment and Islamists and supporter of American and Indian policies. ICFI report of 16 September about mass graves in Swat, Times magazine report of one Akhtar Ali and a clip showing an army officer kicking a suspect in Swat aired by local and foreign media indicated a trend to undermine Army’s achievements. I am sure Asma must have seen the clips of torture meted to detainees in Gitmo, Abu Gharib and Baghram Base jails. Dogs were unleashed on naked prisoners.  But for Asma kicks are more gruesome, which even a father delivers to his naughty child.   


The motivated propaganda died down when 2.3 million displaced persons returned and cheered the Army lustily. Army’s efforts were also lauded by the Pakistani public and the world. Yapping tongues of the propagandists got silenced when the Army added another feather in its cap by overpowering the impregnable fortress of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan (SW) in a month’s time. The adversaries who till then were upbraiding Pak Army and accusing it of being hand-in-glove with Taliban were compelled to change their tunes from admonishment to extolment.


Now that the wind that had blown against Pakistan for over eight years became relatively steady, this kind of an allegation seems strange but is not without a definite purpose. Other than the frowns of Robert Gates, Geoff Morrell said that irrespective of close Pak-US partnership in combating terrorism, the US takes human rights abuses seriously. Human right violation is one of the sticks the US has in its armory which it brandishes to make the other obey its dictates. This stick has never been used on India or Israel, the two most horrible human rights violators.


It is paradoxical that the US notorious for worst human rights violations and being the biggest violator of law today stands up as a pleader of human rights and upholder of law. Its past gory acts are too many to recount. It has turned Iraq and Afghanistan into killing grounds where over 1.6 million have been hacked to death; millions injured critically, tens of thousands rendered homeless, widowed and orphaned. Thousands have suffered gruesome tortures in US run infamous jails, which have so far not been closed despite world protest and commitment given by Obama. George W. Bush and his team of neo-cons along with Tony Blair should have been tried as war criminals for the crimes committed against humanity and that too under false pretexts.


Till November 2009, ruthless killing of militants as well as civilians was justified under the comical label of collateral damage. Deaths of civilians in each cross fire or aerial attacks were taken as a natural phenomenon in war conditions. It was only when security situation in Afghanistan spun out of control that Gen McChrystal, notorious for brutal actions in Iraq suddenly transformed himself and is now trying to put up a soft face by instructing his under commands to keep collateral damage to bare minimum. Despite his commands, cases of excesses are happening and resentment against restrictions is mounting.


Pakistan Army had to all along fight war on terror imposed upon it with its one hand tied to the back because of the factor of collateral damage. In their effort to limit fatalities to the civilians, the army took huge risks by resorting to controlled and precision firing in the face of indiscriminate firing by militants camouflaged among civil population. The soldiers always remained mindful of the fact that they were up against misled brethren and use of more carrot and little stick might bring them back on the right path. This policy didn’t work because the militants were paid huge salaries and other perks by foreign conspirators while Pakistan lacked resources to develop impoverished FATA. In order to avoid losses to civilians, Malakand Division, Swat, Bajaur and South Waziristan were got vacated prior to launching operations.


Army Jawans and officers have performed their duties with total dedication, grit and determination. They pray five times to seek Allah’s blessings.  Fear of God together with enforcement of correct guidelines given by the top leadership and maintenance of strict discipline at unit levels helped in keeping the troops on the virtuous path. In the last eight years, not a single case of moral turpitude has taken place nor any case of trauma despite having suffered over 30,000 killed and injured. Hats off to the dynamic commanders at all levels who have kept their troops committed and motivated all these years under such adverse conditions and achieved remarkable results. People of Swat and Bajaur celebrated the ouster of militants and garlanded the soldiers as their saviors and benefactors. Never before the people of these regions had come so close to the Army. Pak Army has been sharing their rations with the affected persons, rendering medical services, distributing relief goods and its sappers are now engaged in reconstructing destroyed schools, mosques, small bridges and culverts etc. Affectionate response of the affected people belies false claims made by vested interests.      


Pak Army has launched scores of operations in seven tribal agencies of FATA since 2002 but the US never made any complaint of human rights abuses. Rather, it always expressed its displeasure and was averse to peace deals and repeatedly pressed Pakistan to do more since it was not doing enough. In other words, what it meant was to make use of stick only with full force in complete disregard to pro and anti-Pakistan militants and not to even spare the sympathizers providing food and shelter to militants. It wants complete cleansing of extremist forces in the two Waziristan and adjoining agencies and is not bothered about its catastrophic consequences on Pakistan’s social fabric. Intriguingly, what it implies is that human rights laws are applicable in Swat and Balochistan only and not in FATA. But one never knows what new stories are being spun by spin doctors about South Waziristan once the IDPs start returning to their homes in May.


With the kind of track record the US has, it makes one laugh to hear US officials sermonizing about abuses in Swat and gloating over US laws and principles of counter insurgency and trying to show the right path to Pakistan. In case the US is genuinely interested in washing away misgivings and mistrust built over a period of time because of its discriminatory attitude and build its image in Pakistan, suchlike allegations would run counter to the ongoing efforts put in to forge mutually respecting Pak-US relations.


The write is a retired Brig who writes regularly for various international and national newspapers.
 Reply:   There are hundred thousand documents proves
Replied by(Ghulam_Rasool) Replied on (9/Apr/2010)
Pakistan army is War Criminals

One more tragedy in Bajur

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Rahimullah Yusufzai

Pakistan has suffered many tragedies since military ruler General Pervez Musharraf’s fateful decision to become an ally of the US in the so-called war on terror and there is nothing to suggest that our sufferings are coming to an end. Every tragedy is a story waiting to be told as scores of families have experienced pain and misery following bomb explosions, suicide bombings, air strikes, misdirected rocket and artillery attacks and US drone strikes.

One such tragedy occurred on February 15 in Gang village in Bajaur Agency’s Salarzai tehsil. The 80-year-old mother of Sahibzada Haroon Rasheed, a Jamaat-i-Islami leader and former member of the National Assembly from Bajaur, and his 20-year-old niece were killed when their house collapsed as a result of a powerful explosion triggered by the security forces while destroying the family’s hujra, or male guesthouse. The hujra was being demolished by the troops to punish the family for its alleged links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The demolition of homes of militants and those suspected of supporting and harbouring them has become a standard policy of the government not only in the tribal areas but also in settled districts such as Swat. There has been no debate on this important issue and it is unclear how many houses have been destroyed to date in the NWFP and FATA and whether this is the correct approach to tackling extremism and terrorism. In fact, army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had once taken the decision to stop this practice that punished the whole family for the crime of a single member involved in militancy and damaged more houses than intended, but the demolition of homes has continued with a greater vigour than before.

According to Major General Tariq Khan, the Inspector General Frontier Corps (IGFC) who is leading the military operation in Bajaur, there were ample reasons to take action against Haroon Rasheed’s family due to its ties to anti-state elements and patronisation of Talibanisation in Bajaur. He told this writer that Rasheed’s 27-year-old nephew, Asadullah, had been in the custody of the security forces since May 2009 for harbouring Taliban fighters and facilitating their activities in Bajaur. However, he insisted that the security forces didn’t intend to kill his mother, niece or any other family member. He didn’t rule out the possibility that the house fell due to the impact of the explosion caused by the troops while demolishing the adjoining hujra. However, he hastened to add that the collapsed house was old and in a dilapidated condition due to heavy rains and snowfall.

It had been snowing around noon on February 15 when army and FC troops arrived in Gang village, located about three kilometres from Bajaur’s principal town and headquarters, Khar. According to Rasheed, the troops accompanied by some US soldiers came in 15 military vehicles and armoured personnel carriers, searched several houses in the village and found nothing objectionable and then planted 72 kilograms of explosives to blow up his hujra. He explained that the hujra was sited in the middle of a compound containing his house and those of his three brothers and it was obvious that the adjoining houses would be damaged if the guesthouse was dynamited. He said he had shifted his family to Peshawar while his brothers and their families were all living in their homes in Gang. He alleged that the troops didn’t give sufficient time to his family members, including his old mother, and women and children to shift to a safer place despite requests by villagers and caused a huge explosion with a remote-control device while leaving the village.

The hujra was razed to the ground but the blast also brought down the verandah of the adjacent house, burying Rasheed’s mother and niece under the debris. Another woman, the wife of Rasheed’s relative, Salim, and her three-year-old son were injured and brought to Peshawar’s ICRC Hospital. The villagers later pulled out the two bodies and performed the burial rites in pouring rain and heavy snowfall in Rasheed’s absence. The former lawmaker has been unable to return to Bajaur due to a curfew and insecurity and is receiving well-wishers offering condolences to him at the Peshawar headquarters of the Jamaat-i-Islami.

This indeed is a tragedy as two innocent women lost their lives in an incident that could have been avoided. There are two widely divergent versions of the circumstances that led to the tragedy and prompted the Jamaat-i-Islami to call for countrywide protests. It is true that the security forces are operating in a difficult and dangerous situation, particularly in Bajaur where the military action started 18 months ago and has now entered a new phase with the advance of the troops into the Taliban strongholds of Mamond and Charmang. The troops have offered sacrifices in the battle against the militants and have made gains at a considerable cost. IGFC Major General Tariq Khan has been leading his men from the front, succeeding in raising the morale of his soldiers, many of whom deserted the FC and gave up the fight following ferocious attacks by militants during 2004-2009.

However, the occurrence of Bajaur-like tragedies, the accusations of human rights violations and extrajudicial killings against the security forces and the growing presence of US soldiers and spies in the area would continue to fuel the conflict and negate efforts to make Pakistan peaceful and stable. The lack of credible information about the situation in the conflict areas and the unawareness of most Pakistanis of the human suffering in places like Bajaur and Waziristan have prevented this tragedy from becoming public knowledge.

It is, therefore, necessary to probe the circumstances in which the mother and the niece of Jamaat-i-Islami’s provincial deputy head Haroon Rasheed were killed. Rasheed has challenged the government and the security forces to provide evidence of his family’s involvement in anti-state activities. Four members of his family, including his brother Muhammad Rasheed and his nephews Asadullah, Saeedullah and Khalid, are in the custody of the security forces and all stand accused of having links with the Taliban. The FC authorities even alleged that Rasheed’s hujra was frequented by foreign militants and served as a centre for the Taliban. These are serious allegations and should be backed up by evidence to make them credible.

In his defence, Rasheed explained that his house and hujra were located on the roadside and approachable by paved roads from three sides, including the one from Khar town. Besides, he pointed out that the famous Baba Picket built on a hill and manned by FC soldiers overlooked his house and was within the range of a Kalashnikov rifle. He maintained that it was impossible for foreign or even local militants to seek refuge or use his house and hujra as a hideout because it was visible from the Baba Picket.

Rasheed, articulate and determined, also raised fundamental issues with regard to the ongoing military operations in FATA and the rest of the NWFP. He claimed that more than 90 per cent of the 7,000 people killed in the military action in the region since 2004 were civilians. In his native Bajaur, he contended that 99 per cent of the 3,000 tribespeople who lost their lives in the military operation were women and children and, therefore, innocent. Rasheed is ready to face punishment if his family is found involved in anti-state activities but he also wants those making accusations against him and his relations to be made accountable if they are proved wrong. Moreover, he wants a judicial probe into the civilian deaths in the military action and the US drone strikes in the Frontier. He is seeking an independent probe by judges, political leaders, the media and human rights activists into the so-called "collateral damage" resulting from the military operations and is willing to defend his viewpoint on all forums. On his part, he believes his hujra was demolished and his mother and niece were killed to punish him for consistently opposing since 2004 the military action in the NWFP and FATA. He considers it as an act of revenge, a claim that the security forces and the government would never accept.

Is there someone in the government and the military to accept Rasheed’s challenge?

The writer is resident editor of The News in Peshawar. Email: rahim yusufzai


 Reply:   Human Rights is concerned not U.S. Government
Replied by(Ghulam_Rasool) Replied on (9/Apr/2010)


HRCP concerned at revenge killings in Swat


Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Bureau report
PESHAWAR: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Monday expressed concern over detention of family members of suspected militants and continuing reports of revenge killings in Swat in the Malakand division.

A statement issued by HRCP Chairperson Asma Jahangir said the HRCP had noted with deep concern reports of people in custody of the security forces in the Malakand division who have not been produced in court.

Of similar concern are continuing reports of revenge killings targeting individuals suspected to have sided with the Taliban, she said. HRCP acknowledged that the government was dealing with a difficult situation in the region, but no circumstances authorise the state agencies to deal with the citizens in any manner they please.

The government, she added, must ensure that each one of such detainees was immediately produced in court or released and paid compensation for arbitrary detention. The HRCP chairperson also demanded that International Committee of the Red Cross should be granted access to the detainees.


 Reply:   We want debates on the forum, so who ever is wrong, will get an idea about
Replied by(webmaster) Replied on (8/Apr/2010)

Asslam O Alaikum Dear Drkje We want debates on the forum, so who ever is wrong, will get an idea about it. That is why we are printing articles from both schools of thought i.e secular and islamist. Here i am not saying that whose view is correct or wrong. Hope you will understand
 Reply:   haroon raja is pakistan army spokesman
Replied by(drkjke) Replied on (8/Apr/2010)

haroon raja is pakistan army spokesman,so he will lie to protect pak armys brutalities,he even claims that laal mosque massacre did not take place haha!he is such an army stooge,i wonder why you people give him writing space we need people who write the truth pakistani armys atrocities in bengal were exagerated but in present swat and fata pak armys atrocities are as clear as sun itself an army man himself proudly was telling in public that how he used to slit throats of islamists of swat than throw their bodies from helicopters on their parents homes to frighten thye parents of the murdered islamists pakistani army is abusing islamists on a greater scale than american army is doing nowdays for this pakistan will soon face a graet azab we are just waiting for that azaab i pray that azaab hits our civil and army rulers first,
 Reply:   Pakistan army has double standards not U.S.
Replied by(Ghulam_Rasool) Replied on (7/Apr/2010)

Videos and tiny details of Human Rights abuses of Pakistan Army, peoples are not shot just tortured and killed.

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