HRW warns against exempting ISI, Pak military under PPPs constitutional package

July 2nd, 2008 - 3:50 pm ICT by ANI  

Pervez Musharraf

Karachi, July 2 (ANI): The constitutional package proposed by the PPP-led government, ostensibly to restore the Supreme Court judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf, should not exempt the Pakistan military and its intelligence agency ISI from the rule of law, as, in the past, they have been found grossly violating human rights by way of torture of innocent citizens, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) executive-director Kenneth Roth.

In an interview with The News, Roth said that like Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, the US CIA was also a major perpetrator of abuse and torture.

Intelligence agencies were always a problem in this sense but that this problem needed to be tackled effectively and that the best way to do this was to ensure rule of law for everyone, he said and added: So the constitutional reform package being talked about by the Pakistani government should not allow any exemptions to the intelligence agencies or the military, or else each time they indulge in abuses they would simply seek another indemnity.

If you dont do this (exempt ISI), you send the message that no price is to be paid for torture, Roth said.

He further said that the US Congress had recently passed a legislation to effectively force the CIA into using the same standard for interrogation as used now by the US military. Though, the measure could not be made into a law because there were not enough votes in the US Congress.

With regard to the policy on human rights in general, he said that under the Musharraf government Pakistan had played a nefarious role, especially at the UN, where its representatives always stood up to defend every two-bit dictator and undermined efforts to hold autocrats accountable for human rights abuses.

On the issue of controversial US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Roth said while a recent US Supreme Court ruling had decided that those being tried had the right to defend themselves before a court, the issue of how long such detainees could be kept incarcerated remained unresolved. (ANI)

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