First published on October 01, 2010
The horrifying video reported by Jane Perlez in an article of New York Times on September 29, 2010, showing Pakistan Army officers mass-killing six innocent blind-folded young men with their hands tied-back, has shocked the world. The way the Pakistani soldiers shot and killed the young men some of them as young as 14 years and then shooting at short range on those who were still alive and wounded, to finish them, dwarfs the atrocities committed by chetnik Serbs in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Brigadier (Rtd) Javed Hussain and Lt. General Talat Masood, who are considered to be pro-military security analysts have termed this video as authentic and credible. This particular video is from Swat, which is relatively accessible area. The crimes committed by Pakistan Army in FATA cannot be brought to surface as the journalists and International human rights organizations are barred from entering these areas. “A Pakistani intelligence official, who did not want to be identified discussing the issue, said he had seen other such videos and heard reports of executions larger than the one in the video”, the report goes on to says. Some reports, particularly from Waziristan, that the State Department was reviewing were increasingly specific and credible, a senior US Administration official reportedly told media. If proper action is not taken in time by International Community, the 3000-10000 prisoners rounded up by Pakistan Army during their fake operations against insurgents, can also be killed extra-judicially by Army in the same pattern.
Ironically, the so-called free media of Pakistan is criminally silent on these terrifying images, reported by New York Times. Pakistani media which is tirelessly quoting Western sources when it comes to stigmatizing the democratically elected governments and even the Judiciary. But, when it comes to the Military Establishment, they do not have the courage to expose the true face of it. International Press Freedom Organizations like Reporters without Borders (RSF), should also take note of it and embolden the media to write on this issue.
I have been highlighting the atrocities of the Pakistan Army in Swat and Tribal Areas of Pakistan in my several articles published earlier, fell on deaf ears and blind eyes in American and European political and diplomatic circles. In my Article titled “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is burning”, published on August 26, 2010, a detailed description of the situation is made. Mass graves discovered at different locations in Swat as confirmed by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW): reminds of the Serb genocide of 1995 in the city of Srebrenica in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Many more undiscovered Mass-graves are waiting to be unearthed, if and when International Human Rights Organizations will be allowed to enter FATA. The magnitude and scale of torture, killing and forced disappearances by Military Establishment of Pakistan dwarfs the Chilean Dictator, General Augusto Pinochet. The Supreme Court of Pakistan is powerless, as its orders to produce missing persons before the court for trial are thrown into dustbin by Military Establishment. Credible media reports suggest that some 2,500 people were in detention in the first half of 2010…the numbers subjected to enforced disappearances could be much higher. These detainees are not held under any clear legal framework under Pakistan’s law, a report by Amnesty International published in July this year, confirms. Hundreds of thousands of FATA’s nearly four million residents have fled the increasing brutality of the Pakistani Taleban and of the government’s military response.
The reason, resembling the state-sponsored terrorism and genocide of innocent Pashtuns by the Pakistani Military was that I see the same patterns and tactics employed by Pakistan Military, and as well as the Serb forces which committed the worst genocide of the Bosnian Muslims of Srebrenica in 1992-95 war.
This Pakistani video is just like the one released in 2005 in which Serb Army was shown killing 6 innocent civilians in cold blood with their hands tied in the back, in July 1995. Before the release of that video Serbian general public was denying the genocide. The release of that video made the facts dawned upon Serbs that genocide perpetrated by Serbs was a reality. Now, the Pakistani people should also accept the fact that Pakistani Military has committed genocide of Pashtuns. The Serb forces buried the dead bodies of these civilians at different locations in mass graves in Bosnia to escape the searching eyes of International Community. The victims of genocide in Swat and FATA have also been buried at different locations as safe as the out-skirt of Islamabad to cover-up the crimes.
Pakistan Military followed the same patterns learnt in Bosnian War on those Pashtuns who were not ready to help Military become a fodder of war against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. It is not a coincidence, as Pakistani Military was very closely engaged in Bosnian war by providing Arms and ammunition to Bosnian Army to fight the Serbs. Instead of learning lessons from Serb atrocities, Pakistan Army is committing the same mistake of genocide on its own citizens. Lt. General (Rtd) Javed Nasir has already accepted the fact in front of Lahore Hight Court that he played an important role in delivering Arms to Bosnia, breaching the Arms embargo of UN. Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan, the father of the Nuclear Programme of Pakistan was also actively involved by personally supervising these Arms deliveries to Bosnia. The orders of the International Criminal Court in Hague, to produce Javed Nasir before the court in order to find the facts, have been resisted by Pakistani authorities. US and EU are also silent on account of political reasons to bring the culprit to the book. The involvement of Pakistan Army in Drugs-smuggling and distribution to run its secret operations, selling nuclear secrets to Libya and Iran, earning huge commissions on controversial arms-deals and killing innocent French Engineers at Karachi in 2002 when they could not receive the promised kick-backs, are few examples which depict the real face of this rogue army. General Aslam Beg (former Army Chief) Major-General Asad Durrani, General Hamid Gul (former chiefs of the ISI), and people like Colonel Imam are still working actively for Pakistan Army to train and arm Taliban to kill Americans and NATO forces in Afghanistan. There is an un-ending list of crimes committed by Pakistan Army. Strong action needed to be taken rather than using bits of information and reports for political reasons to force Pakistan Army to co-operate with US and Allied forces for small tactical military gains, is hypocritical.
US civilian Administration and Pentagon believe that the video is real and there are more videos and concrete material which shows the extra-judicial killings by Pakistan Army of the prisoners and innocent civilians. They also claim to take the issue with Pakistani authorities. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, reported to have raised the reports of extrajudicial killings with the head of the Pakistani Army.
These apparently political gestures of US seems to be just an exercise in vein as there are clear cut laws and procedures to be followed. American law requires that the United States cut off financing to units of foreign militaries that are found to have committed gross violations of human rights. Instead of applying this law, US has already transfered more than US $ 10 billions to the rogue Pakistan Army. By cutting and stopping this military aid along with civilian development aid, US can force Pakistan to stop this genocide of Pashtuns and bring the culprits to the book. US can cut military assistance to Pakistan under 1997 legislation authored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. The Leahy Amendment bars U.S. military assistance from going to foreign armed forces suspected of committing atrocities or Human Rights violations.
Another option is try all the responsible including the Army high Command who ordered the killings of civilians in the International Criminal Court. If the Serbs who committed genocide are brought to Hague to face justice then why Pakistan Army Generals cannot be tried in Hague? What hinders International Community from bringing these clean-shaved uniformed Taliban to Hague to try them for crimes against humanity and genocide? If these Generals are above the law? Is the International Justice system selective? Ample evidence is there to prove that, as different International Human rights Organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Pakistan International Human Rights Organization have investigated these atrocities and have presented the evidence in their respective reports.
It is the moral, political and diplomatic responsibility of the International Community particularly, US and EU to take this issue seriously and put pressure on Pakistan to stop the state-sponsored genocide of Pashtuns. Pakistan government and Army must be subject to criminal prosecutions under international criminal law, in relation to war crimes, crimes against humanity, or other crimes under international law. Even, under charter (99) of United Nations, International Court of Justice can take action on human right violations anywhere in the World, including Pakistan.If swift action is not taken then the situation is going to get out of control and the whole of Pakistan will see a horrific blood bath un-imaginable in the history of Pakistan. Pashtun Nationalist feelings are on rise and the Pashtun code of Pakhtunwali call for BADAL (revenge) on those who have committed genocide of Pashtuns. If the Punjabi dominated military think that they will pass through these crimes un-hurt, are living in paradise of fools. Pashtuns will take the war to their homes and will take the revenge, binding on them according to their historic traditions.