Missing Persons: Reality vs Evidence
By Sajjad Shaukat
Thinkers, researchers and writers always pay attention to reality, while describing factual position of any development, event or incident. But on the other hand, learned advocates in most of the cases produce fake evidence in order to win the case, even then the reality of the event exists. While giving arguments in the court, no lawyer will agree with his rival, otherwise, he will lose the case.
In these terms, it is better to discuss the case of the missing persons, which is now-a-days, being heard by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. In this regard, recently, the apex court had ordered Raja Muhammad Irshad, the council for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) to produce the 11 missing persons. Intelligence agencies on February 13, 2012, produced seven men. In this respect, Raja Irshad had told the Supreme Court on January 30, last year that that four of the 11 persons of Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, who were picked up by intelligence personnel in 2010 for investigation into their role in the October 2009 attacks on the GHQ and ISI Hamza Camp in Rawalpindi, had died. According to press reports, four of them have expired in the custody of agencies, but Raja Irshad pointed out that they died in Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar.
Media reports suggest that detainees were taken away from Adiala Jail by their own terrorist-masters, under the guise of intelligence persons, to FATA. After relentless efforts, they were again tracked and caught from FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the secret agencies. These detainees were not convicted by Anti-Terrorist Court of Rawalpindi, but released due to lack of evidence, which was essential for the court, while the witnesses were afraid to appear before the court because of threats. Even the heirs of detainees used to threaten the judges of the court including superintendent and staff of the jail. However, it is a common practice that the key witness is always given death threat by perpetrators of terrorist attacks. But court requires evidence as its is not concerned with realtiy.
Quite opposite to the fabricated evidence, reality is that these suspected militants were arrested on charges of terrorist assault on former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, attacks on GHQ, Kamra Base and Hamza Camps, while suicide jackets, weapons and hand grenades were also recovered from them.
Nevertheless, best treatment was provided to the four suspected terrorists in CMH and Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar, but they died natural deaths due to some serious diseases. Their dead bodies were handed over to their families by hospital authorities. And their bodies were dispatched with full respect. Notably, families of the militants were asked for autopsy, but the same was refused by them.
Nonetheless, at no stage, it was indicated that they died owing to torture or poisoning as accused in the writ petition and highlighted in the media campaign against PAK Army and ISI. Even death certificates of the deceased given by the doctors of the concerned hospitals clear prove that they were not tortured or poisoned during the detention period.
Taking cognisance of the linkages of these suspects with terrorist groups in FATA, they were interned under “Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation 2011 for FATA. Pursuing the orders of Supreme Court, meetings of the suspects with the families were also arranged under the extremely dangerous security environment.
Since prevailing security environments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA impose restrictions on freedom of actions therefore, it took relatively longer time to establish that sufficient evidence is not available to try these suspects under Pakistan Army Act. Fabricated and concocted evidences were not created to initiate legal proceedings under Pakistan Army Act.
The question arises in the mind of every sensible person that as to how justice will be given to the heirs of over 50 innocent individuals who have been victims of terror-attacks at Raja Bazar, Hamza Camp, GHQ, and Kamra Base.
It is notable that in the aftermath of 9/11 tragedy, more than 35,000 innocent civilians and 5,000 personnel of the security forces including several police men were killed in varous subversive acts conducted by the insurgents such as attacks on markets, shopping plazas, school children buses, places of worship etc. Moreover, ISI sub-headquarters, located in Lahore, Multan and Peshawar were also targeted by the militants besides their personnel at various places. In this context, in the recent past, BBC, while quoting ISI DG, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha revealed, “Nobody expressed their condolences over the 78 officials of the ISI who have been killed.” While during the past few years, various forms of subversive acts like suicide attacks, hostage-takings, beheadings, target killings etc. have been continuing by the insurgents in various parts of Pakistan. Again question arises that as to how justice will be provided to the concerned families of all these brutally murdered persons. No doubt, reality of all these incidents exists, but court needs evidence.
It is due to the loopholes in the existing legal system, anti-terrorism law—lack of evidence, as a result of which terrorists are freed from the courts and then they again continue playing with the blood of the innocent people and the security forces and agencies.
Pakistan intelligence agencies, especially ISI have made relentless efforts and unearthed the terrorist networks. We should appreciate these agencies which foiled planned terror activities by capturing the terrorists, and thus saved hundreds of other innocent lives.
While discussing reality and evidence, it is also mentionable that Pakistan’s media is still crying for the four dead detainees who were party to the hideous crime which costed thousands of innocent lives. In this context, negative approach of our media anchors can be judged from the fact that on June 15, 2011, hundreds of journalists and human rights activists from across the country had marched in Islamabad, while accusing ISI for the murder of Journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. Human rights activist Asma Jehangir who is pro-American had also filed a case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in this connection, openly blaming this intelligence agency regarding Saleem’s assassination. Some American high officials had also expressed similar thoughts. But the report of a high-level judicial commission which was released on January 12, 2012 to probe the killing of Saleem Shahzad found no proof about ISI in this matter.
Regarding the cases of missing persons, the situation of Balochistan is of particular attention, where acts of sabotage like bomb blasts, target killings, destruction of gas pipelines, forced abductions, ethnic and sectarian violence have become every day occurrence. Everyone knows that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province gets logistic support from American CIA and Indian RAW. These militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province. Besides, a number of missing persons went to Afghanistan and India as they were serving their external secret agents. Some of them were murdered by foreign secret agencies in order to implicate Pak Army and ISI. Notably, since 2001, a majority of Pakistanis also left for Afghanistan for Jehad purposes, without informing their families. But media and so-called NGOs including human rights organisations not only exaggerate the figures of the missing persons, but also accuse Pak Army and ISI for extra-judicial killings. These entities have failed to provide details about the missing persons, spreading sensationalism and conducting press conferences without obtaining real facts.
It worth-mentioning that on February 8, 2012, the hearing of the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Dana Rohrabacher discussed target killings and human rights violations in Balochistan. He has also co-authored an article a few days ago, favouring an independent Balochistan. It has exposed US support to the Baloch separatists.
In fact, the agents of CIA-led RAW and Mosssad are well-penetrated in media, various NGOs and human rights groups which are being used for vile propaganda against Pakistan’s security forces and secret agencies in relation to the human rights violations, particularly about the missing persons.
In light of our earlier discussion, our legal system and anti-terrorism law should be reformed so that Pakistan’s judges should grasp reality instead of depending upon fake evidence, produced by the lawyers. In this regard, appropriate training should also be given to the journalists and reporters so that they could cover an event—especially on the sensitive issue in accordance with reality. Similary, action should also be taken against the so-called NGOs and human rights groups which are following the foreign agenda in distoritng the image of Pakistan and its security agencies by ignoring the facts. Nonetheless as regards the missing persons, reality exists, but there is no evidence as the same is concealed or concocted.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations