Human Rights Violations By Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency ISI

Pakistan's ISI assassinated Karima Baloch in Toronto Canada for criticizing Army of corruption. Photo by the Guardian.

On Sunday BBC published a story with titled “uncovering Pakistan’s secret human rights abuses” said that tens of thousands of people have been killed during the war against terror and many of them were murdered and torture by soldiers and insurgents.

BBC in its story quoted source from Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and said that score of civilians have been killed in air strikes during military operation against the terrorists in North Waziristan since 2014 to 2016.

Pashtun Tahhafuzz Movement (PTM), an ethnic nationalist movement in the country’s northwestern and southwestern Pashtun-populated areas, championing Pashtun rights.

BBC has quoted activist from a particular group besides not availing full opportunity offered by ISPR and also ignored available official government stance on the recent Kharkamar check post-incident in Waziristan.

Human Rights Abuse

The Pakistani military has carried out widespread human rights abuses in the country’s north-western tribal region where the army is fighting a domestic Taliban insurgency, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

The military has regularly held people without charge and tortured or otherwise mistreated them in custody, the London-based rights group said in a new report. Some detainees do not survive and are returned to their families dead, or their corpses are dumped in remote parts of the tribal region, it said.

“Detainees who are released alive and their families are threatened with dire consequences if they speak publicly about their treatment in detention,” said the report, titled The Hands of Cruelty: Abuses by Armed Forces and Taliban in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas.

The military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Amnesty also criticised the Taliban for a range of rights abuses, including the killing of captured soldiers and innocent civilians.

The army and the Taliban have been engaged in a bloody fight in the north-west for several years. The militants have carried out scores of attacks around the country that have killed thousands of people.

Amnesty acknowledged the challenge Pakistan is facing in fighting the Taliban along its border with Afghanistan, but it criticised the government and the military for failing to investigate the alleged abuses. It also said a combination of new security laws and colonial-era regulations often gave the military a legal cover for abuse.

It said it was unaware of any serving or retired member of the military, law enforcement authorities or intelligence services being prosecuted for alleged involvement in unlawful detentions, torture or other ill-treatment.

“Without urgent action by the Pakistan government to guarantee respect for human rights in the tribal areas, millions will continue to be locked in a perpetual state of lawlessness,” Amnesty said.

The report was largely based on more than 100 testimonies from victims of human rights violations in detention, witnesses, relatives, lawyers, Pakistani officials and militants.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency killed Karima Baloch in Canada

A prominent Baloch activist, Karima Baloch, who took on the Pakistan Army over human rights abuses in Balochistan, was found dead in mysterious circumstances in Canada.

Karima was a refugee in Canada, after having escaped the persecution by the Pakistani Army in Balochistan. Named as one of the world’s 100 most inspirational and influential women in 2016 by the BBC, Karima was known as one of the strongest voice of Baloch people at home and abroad.

As per the Balochistan Post, Karima went missing on Sunday afternoon. On Monday, her family said that they had found her dead body.

In a similar pattern, another Pakistani dissident, Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain was found dead in Sweden.

He was missing too before his body was found.

Balochistan, is a resource-rich and conflict-torn province of Pakistan where Pakistan Army is accused of committing grave and wide spread human rights violations. The military repression has led to an insurgency and a movement for freedom from Pakistan.

Karima was one among the thousands of Baloch human rights activists who have sought political asylum in Canada.

On Tuesday, hundreds of Baloch activists on social media played video clips of Karima’s speech in Canada where she had raised an alarm about the Pakistani oppressors of Baloch people being settled in Canada accommodated by the Justin Trudeau government.

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Many demanded investigation into her mysterious death in Toronto.

ISI tortures women and children

Violence against women and girls—including rape, so-called honor killings, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage—remains a serious problem. Pakistani activists estimate that there are about 1,000 “honor” killings every year.

In June, the murder of 19-year-old Mahwish Arshad in Faisalabad district, Punjab, for refusing a marriage proposal gained national attention. According to media reports, at least 66 women were murdered in Faisalabad district in the first six months of 2018, the majority in the name of “honor.”

Justice Tahira Safdar was appointed as the chief justice of Balochistan High Court, becoming the first woman ever appointed chief justice of a high court in Pakistan.

Women from religious minority communities remain particularly vulnerable to abuse. A report by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan found that at least 1,000 girls belonging to Christian and Hindu communities are forced to marry Muslim men every year. The government has done little to stop such forced marriages.

Suppression of free speech by ISI

The authorities tightened their control on the media, and media workers reported increased coercion and censorship. In an interview in September, the Prime Minister denied there was a press crackdown and said that he did not mind criticism. However, journalists who published critical pieces were subjected to harassment, intimidation, censorship and even arrest.

In a joint statement published on 12 August, at least 16 women journalists reported being systematically harassed and threatened with violence by the social media team of the ruling party, particularly when their journalism was not favourable towards the government. They noted that this had affected their ability to work and to express themselves without fear. The number of signatories to the women’s statement grew to 161 in one month. The ruling party failed to renounce such attacks or online abuse; instead, the same pattern of intimidation and harassment was perpetuated in statements from its parliamentarians.

Ahmed Noorani, a journalist who had previously been violently attacked in 2017, allegedly by intelligence agents, was targeted in a vicious online campaign after he published a story in August investigating the businesses of a top aide to the Prime Minister and former army official.

In September, journalist Bilal Farooqi was arrested and detained for social media posts about an anti-Shi’a demonstration in the city of Karachi. He was arrested under the draconian Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act.

Mir Shakil ur Rahman, editor and founder of the Jang Media Group – Pakistan’s largest media conglomerate – was placed in pre-trial detention in March on charges related to a property transaction that had taken place more than three decades previously. The trumped-up allegations were seen as reprisals for his media group’s critical coverage of the government’s “anti-corruption” drive.

A state within a state

Brad Adams is critical of the ISI’s political role

Human rights organizations have long criticized the ISI for acting as “a state within a state,” even kidnapping political and social activists with impunity. The Pakistani government has acknowledged some 400 cases of missing people, allegedly picked up by intelligence operatives on suspicion of “anti-state” activities. Pakistani activists put the number of missing persons at over 1,000.

Shahzad had told HRW he was receiving ‘threats from the ISI’

Last year, HRW expressed its dissatisfaction over the findings of a judicial commission set up to investigate the murder of Saleem Shahzad, a Pakistani journalist who was kidnapped and then killed in May 2011, which the rights watchdog categorically blames on the ISI.

The commission ruled out the ISI’s exclusive involvement in Shahzad’s kidnapping and assassination and concluded that there could be a number of players behind his death, including the state, militant groups linked to the Taliban, al Qaeda and unnamed “foreign actors.”

Many of those picked up illegally are thought to be members of the Pakistani Taliban, operating in the restive northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, or members of Baluch insurgent groups operating in the western province of Baluchistan that borders Iran.

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