Friday, October 2, 2009


The Pakistan army behaving like an occupation army in their own country....Shocking the way Pakistan army personnel are treating their own people.

``Spare me in the name of Allah!'' an old man's pleas falling on deaf ears. The all powerful Pakistan army - dominated by Punjabis - treats people from the north west frontier province, Balochistan and Sindh as second rate citizens. Amply proven by this video.

What is shocking is the fact that Pakistan's judiciary and civil society are not up in arms against this behaviour of the army. Why are they not protesting and loud enough for the Pakistan army to clean up its act.

Had the Pakistan army been accountable to its government and people, they would dare not do something like this. In this video - an officer actually supervises the brutal assault and torture of the civilians - some very old and rather frail.

The Pakistan army has a history of being brutal and believing its officers and men are above the law of the land. Rather feudal in their attitude. Remember the genocide in the then east Pakistan by General Tikka Khan. The Bengalis were always treated as second rate citizens. The same is happening in Balochistan, Sind and the NWFP. The Pakistan army resorts to extra judicial killings, rape and torture again as part of state policy.

My colleagues and I searched for other instances of Pakistan army's brutality on their own people. The results - were shocking to say the least. Scalding hot coal tar being thrown at people by the army, innocents shot dead, stabbed and tortured.

Consider this:

On August 21, 2009, A high-ranking police official in Balochistan issued an open threat - saying the police will begin killing people indiscriminately in Balochistan. Ghulam Shabbir Shiekh, the deputy inspector of police, Nasserabad range, announced in September that the police will kill 40 local persons in revenge for the militants’ alleged abduction and murder of 20 policemen in July and August.

DIG Shiekh also threatened that if any bullet was fired at the police, the police would fire 100 bullets indiscriminately back at the locality from where the bullet was fired.

If any rocket was fired at police stations, the police would fire 10 rockets back. The announcement by Shiekh was the most recent attempt by Pakistani state agencies to instil fear among Baloch nationalists.

On May 31, 2009, police officers from the Panjgore district chased a car of armed men into the village of Mohalla Gharibabad, UC Chitkan, Panjgore, and a shoot-out ensued. A wedding was taking place nearby, and at the first sign of shooting, the wedding guests took shelter in neighbouring houses. Eyewitnesses reported that the police continued to shoot even after the group of armed men had fled.

Noor Ahmad Baloch, 32, a cousin of the groom, urged the leading officer, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Mohammad Ismail, to stop firing noting that there were children around. ASI Ismail responded by shooting him in the head from 25 meters away. Mr. Baloch was then taken to hospital in Panjgore city where he was pronounced dead.

ASI Ismail has since defended himself by claiming it is his prerogative to decide who he does and does not choose to shoot. Despite protests, no case against him has yet been lodged by the police.

On February 3, 2009, soldiers attached to the Pakistan Army Frontier Constabulary attacked a wedding party, killing 13 people including the bride and the groom, six members of their families and the wedding officiator (nikah khawn). 21 people were injured, the majority of them women. The attack was allegedly carried out in retaliation for an incident that took place on the previous day, in which unknown assailants killed three FC (Frontier Constabulary) soldiers.

In January, 2009, journalists received threats from the Director of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) for writing editorials demanding investigations into allegations that the Pakistan army was running torture cells and detaining female prisoners. The Pakistan army threatened to withhold official advertisements and payments from the newspapers if they continued their “malicious” campaign against the army. Some television channels in Pakistan disclosed the threats publicly.

on April 5, 2008, AHRC (Asian Human Rights Commission) received confirmation that Pakistani soldiers arrested four people in the Dera Bugti district of Balochistan, and subjected them to torture.

They were asked to identify local supporters of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). After failing to get any names from them, the victims were immersed in scalding hot coal tar. Three of the men were literally boiled and burned to death. A fourth died later from his injuries.

Pakistan army and intelligence officials arrive in unmarked jeeps, pick up suspected Baloch nationalists and take them to ``Abu Ghareb style'' prisons. Here the Baloch people are tortured till they ``confess'' they are ``Indian agents.''

The world may be shocked by this video of torture of Pakistani civilians in `Abu Ghareb style prison,'' but India knows Pakistan army's brutal and inhuman style of operations. Remember Lieutenant Saurav Kalia, a young officer of the 4th Battalion of the Jat Regiment. His patrol was ambushed in Kaksar. He was brutally tortured and killed by the Pakistan army.

Is there a solution ? Yes! Pakistan's civil society. They need to rise against the feudal-lawless elements in their own army. The Pakistani judiciary needs to rise to the occasion. The Pakistani media deserves credit for speaking out fearlessly. They need to be strengthened. Only when the people of Pakistan speak in one voice - as one country - will the message be loud and clear to their all powerful army. Only then will the Pakistan army top brass know




  1. I agree with the writer wholeheartedly. the video is an eye opener. But the Obama administration has the blinkers of Af-Pak region and the war on terror so they will not care about rights violations of innocent pakistani people here. But what I want to know is what are international rights bodies doing - if you as indian journalists have access to such information and videos. if bbc news has it on their website then why is the world not making a hue and cry about this.
    or has the pakistan government itself leaked this video to get more money from the west. to tell them they are serious about fighting this war against al qaeda and taliban. that is why they are getting the 7.5 billion dollar aid. kicking a few people is worth it and much more. as a journalist you must explore that possibility too. and you are spot on when you say that the pakistani judges, rights activists and civil society should be up in arms.
    like you i am very impressed with the pakistani mainstream media. they have proved they are even better than the american and british so called free media.
    actually free media are there only in pakistan and india. keep up the good work.and Mr Sawant I like to read your free and frank opinion on security matters. keep it up! I am not writing my name for obvious reasons.

  2. Gentleman, I agree with you that Pakistani army is not a good army but at the same time I want to draw your attention towards bigger picture. What would one say about Afghan, Indian, Sri lankan, Egyptian, Algerian, Turkish, Jordanian, russian and other armies of other different armies fighting with their people in their own countries, whereas armies of Israel, USA, Germany and many others fighting in a way shaming humanity. You will have to create a weapon free world. Armies are killing machines creating mess ruthlessly. Saying one good and other bad when both are in the same boat is disputable.

  3. I must appreciate the effort and the total disconnect i.e. ....linking of a video "purportedly" made in Swat of "So Called" beating of Taliban elements who were whiping women in public and linking them with Balochistan now that is what I say "Reporting out of Context " By a Full Light Year :) Scoty Beam Me Up:)

  4. This video is again a blatant attemp to malign the all alone army in the war against terror . I ask one question, that what should an army do in a country where there is judicial vacuum a country where terrorists confess terror and slaughtorings of innocents and yet the judiciary release them .What is going on with the killer of Governor Punjab. And yes donot use the word pashtuns to instigate anti state feelings. Terrorists have induced poisnous venomous incendiary ignition propagnda that elders, women and even children of ages 12 to 15 are being used for terrorists acts. Pashtoons or no pashtun ones who have killed innocent donot deserve mercy and it incl all those also who strengthened them by giving shelters ,food ,and money in the name of jihaad initially and later, out of fear and intimidation. I REQUEST ALL , PLEASE DONOT FALL PREY TO THESE SORT OF NACKED ATTEMPTS TO MALIGN AN ARMY WHICH HAS GIVEN THE MOST SACRIFICES IN WAR AGAINST TERROR. LONG LIVE PAKISTAN LONG LIVE PAKISTAN ARMY