‘Disappeared’ Pakistanis — innocent and guilty alike — have fallen into a legal black hole

Without a single reference to President Obama’s drone war in Pakistan, extrajudicial detention of prisoners at Guantanamo, the torture of suspected terrorists, CIA-run secret prisons, rendition, presidential authorization to assassinate US citizens, or the United States’ long history of supporting governments that use their power to suppress political dissent by making their opponents “disappear,” the New York Times reports:

The Obama administration is expressing alarm over reports that thousands of political separatists and captured Taliban insurgents have disappeared into the hands of Pakistan’s police and security forces, and that some may have been tortured or killed.

The issue came up in a State Department report to Congress last month that urged Pakistan to address this and other human rights abuses. It threatens to become the latest source of friction in the often tense relationship between the wartime allies.

The concern is over a steady stream of accounts from human rights groups that Pakistan’s security services have rounded up thousands of people over the past decade, mainly in Baluchistan, a vast and restive province far from the fight with the Taliban, and are holding them incommunicado without charges. Some American officials think that the Pakistanis have used the pretext of war to imprison members of the Baluch nationalist opposition that has fought for generations to separate from Pakistan. Some of the so-called disappeared are guerrillas; others are civilians.

“Hundreds of cases are pending in the courts and remain unresolved,” said the Congressionally mandated report that the State Department sent to Capitol Hill on Nov. 23. A Congressional official provided a copy of the eight-page, unclassified document to The New York Times.

Separately, the report also described concerns that the Pakistani military had killed unarmed members of the Taliban, rather than put them on trial.

Two months ago, the United States took the unusual step of refusing to train or equip about a half-dozen Pakistani Army units that are believed to have killed unarmed prisoners and civilians during recent offensives against the Taliban. The most recent State Department report contains some of the administration’s most pointed language about accusations of such so-called extrajudicial killings. “The Pakistani government has made limited progress in advancing human rights and continues to face human rights challenges,” the State Department report concluded. “There continue to be gross violations of human rights by Pakistani security forces.”

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7 thoughts on “‘Disappeared’ Pakistanis — innocent and guilty alike — have fallen into a legal black hole

  1. blowback

    Could it be that the shits in Washington are starting to build a “case” to justify an invasion of Pakistan, even if it may be limited?

  2. Malystryx

    Priceless … Bitch about someone else doing the same thing you are… LOL…

    Long live gringo stupidity.

  3. Fillmorehagan

    During the 1971 rebellion in what is now Bangladesh, the Pak army massacred hundreds of thousands of people if memory serves.

    So they are old hands at this sort of thing.

  4. Joanna

    Why are we not focusing on the “big picture” of the “western” military corporatocracy murdering people and trying to exterminate any culture that refuses to abandon their own traditions and values and become enslaved by their institutionalized, industrial violence and predation? The “hyper-modern”, ruthless, global commercial elites are criminally organized to victimize everyone as they consume the entire world’s resources! Are there no “wise ones” in the industrialized, militarized world that can see the “forest for the trees” and insist–unified, powerful–that ecological/genocidal warfare be technologically and commercially dismantled and replaced with a responsible network of dignified, cooperative “whole earth” relationships? Conscientious people of every science, religion, wisdom tradition, nation must cease quibbling among themselves over insignificant preferences and put an end to ALL animosity, ignorance and aggression. Otherwise, blind and vicious domination and predation can only culminate in human self-destruction.

  5. Norman

    Talk about the kettle calling pot black or reverse, It would be wise if the U.S. withdrew from the Empire that has been built up by the Military. Perhaps they could sell the infrastructure to the business community for the price it cost to build it. That would be a fair enough exchange, in my humble opinion. Considering the objectives of the Military down through the years, think of the $$$$$’s saved from having to finance the Empire? It could pay for the rebuilding of the U.S. infrastructure, put all those able & willing back to work, might even lower the taxes, which should appease the Conservatives, while checking the so called Liberals penchant to spend. Of course, they might try planting Bananas, but I doubt many would grow.

  6. dickerson3870

    RE: “The Obama administration is expressing alarm over reports that thousands of political separatists and captured Taliban insurgents have disappeared…” – NYT
    MY COMMENT: So, I wonder what the odds are that the U.S. will sign this new treaty.
    UN: End ‘Disappearances’ Worldwide ~ HRW, CommonDreams.org, 12/22/10

    (excerpt) NEW YORK – The Convention against Enforced Disappearance, which takes effect on December 23, 2010, should strengthen international efforts to end this horrific practice, Human Rights Watch said today. The treaty should advance justice for victims and accountability for those responsible, HRW said.
    The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance enters into force one month after it is ratified by 20 nations. On November 23, Iraq became the 20th country to ratify the treaty and two others have since done so. The convention defines an enforced disappearance as occurring when authorities deprive an individual of liberty and then refuse to provide information regarding the person’s fate or whereabouts…

    ENTIRE PRESS RELEASE – http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/12/22-12

  7. barry lando

    Must say I posted the same comment on Truthdig and Alternet and my own blog a few days ago:

    Disappearances in Pakistan: Lessons learned

    Difficult to believe that the New York Times could publish the today’s headline with a straight face. “Disappeared with reported ties to Pakistan worries U.S.”

    “WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expressing alarm over reports that thousands of political separatists and captured Taliban insurgents have disappeared into the hands of Pakistan’s police and security forces, and that some may have been tortured or killed.”

    According to the Times, many of those who have vanished have nothing to do with the Taliban, but are Baluchis, a restive people in Pakistan long intent on forming an independent state. Equally alarming, the Pakistani authorities are refusing to admit any knowledge about most of the cases.

    The matter has become so grave that U.S. military is now actually refusing to train Pakistani military units who have been involved in torturing and killing detainees.
    Of course, the U.S. will have nothing to do with such brutal tactics. Of course, the Obama administration is alarmed.
    One can imagine the Pakistani officials shaking their heads wonder. One can also wonder how U.S. officials could make their protests without a sickening sense of cynicism and shame.
    I mean, c’mon guys—this, is the same U.S.—different President, but same country—that disappeared thousands of suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban militants—some only teenagers—into places like Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo or rendered others off to allies for brutal interrogation. And aren’t CIA drones currently blowing apart scores of supposed Taliban and others in Pakistan—and elsewhere—without the inconvenience of arrest, questioning and trial?
    We could go on and on about all this but we won’t. Surely, someone at the Times will bring it up in an editorial or Op Ed piece in the next one or two days.
    [They might even point out another subtler irony: that the restive Baluchis also live in Iran. And that is where, according to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, under the Bush administration, the CIA began aiding the Baluchis to carry out terrorist attacks in hopes of undermining the regime in Teheran.
    Nor that different from the tactics the Pakistini Intelligence Organization, the ISI, are using in supporting some Taliban in Afghanistan—even as they arrest others in Pakistan.]

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