Khalid Khawaja and his pursuit of the missing persons case

here’s a comment Khalid Khawaja left on my blog a few months ago:

9 Khalid Khawaja on February 23, 2010 said:

The problem is that why after all you you consider being a follower of Islam is a negative point, I have been very open and I submit completely to Islamic teachings and I consider the human rights have been defined by Islam and certainly my reference to the human rights is the teachings of Quran and Sunnah.

wHAT DO YOU EXPECT ME TO SAY REGARDING THE SUPREME COURT DECIDION. I hardly feel that our courts can give any justice to teh common man these are there for teh privilaged people, as still the there is always some hope that that you may get some good out of these courts because there is hardly any other option we go to the courts.
even when teh court took up the case of teh missing peopel it was only due to teh media presuure we could create otherwise even this much would not have been done. The powerfl people the jugges the generals beaurocrates and teh polititions all of tehm just play their own power game in teh name of people.
If we can imlement teh Allah’s orders taht is the only way teh human rights of the people can be safe guarded.

He was clearly upset about the judiciary’s unwillingness to pursue the missing person’s case. Khawaja was kidnapped around the time that Amina Masood Janjua wrote a letter to The News, publicly backing down from a position of hostility to the intelligence agencies. Now he’s been killed. Is it possible that he’s been killed in order to prevent him from asking uncomfortable questions about the missing persons?

Another possibility is that he’s been killed as part of the build-up to an anti militant operation in South Punjab. To me that’s not so plausible, because it’s not like “Asian Tigers” exactly screams “Punjab”. If his killers wanted to point fingers at Punjab then why not simply – Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Finally, it’s interesting that it was Hamid Gul who was apparently responsible for sending Khawaja into Waziristan. Recently, Hamid Gul has been getting a lot of airtime on the various talk shows about the US endgame in Afghanistan and the Benazir Bhutto murder case. Hamid Gul has moved much closer into the mainstream since Kayani has been COAS whereas Khalid Khawaja, with his fixation on the missing persons issue, did not make that transition. Sooner or later, he would have had to have been dealt with.

If it is true that Khawaja’s been killed off because he was annoying the establishment too much, then it’s sad in a way. One of the legitimate grievances that critics of Musharraf’s regime had was the issue of the mysteriously disappeared. No one, whether al-Qaeda or a Baloch nationalist, deserves to be hauled up by the agencies. Whatever Khawaja’s motivations, he was one of the people who highlighted that issue and judging by the public silence on the matter, it seems like his cause has died with him.


the LNG case

This is a news report of the proceedings:

” How many companies had showed their interest in participating in bid till the last date of advertisement given by you in the press and how many companies were short listed”, justice Chaudhry Ejaz inquired.

G.A.Sabri told 53 companies participated in it and among them 36 companies were short listed.
As per documents provided by you 5 companies were short listed, the court remarked. Special project manager Sui Southern Gas , Naeem Shaukat told the court 5 out of 53 companies were short listed till last date. These companies were AES, ENI, 4 GAS, Mitsui and Shell gas, he added.

The court asked from G.A Sabri the company wise details with reference to their offer and the reason why they were included in final list. He could not give any reply on this count.

“You are special secretary and not a section officer that you have no knowledge about it”, the court inquired.

” You had finalized the names of these five companies for bidding” CJP inquired. These companies had given good offer therefore, these were short listed, he told.

Justice Ghulam Rabbani remarked ” from where the sixth company GD F Suez did come. Have you further advertised it after the Swiss company joined the bid. G.A.Sabri replied no he did not do so.

“According to your first statement Shell was also not included in the bid then from where it came now”, CJP asked.

He told 4 gas was selected for final approval and its approval was accorded by ECC.

“Tell us about the date when ECC had approved it”, CJP remarked. 4 gas was asked to supply liquid gas and 9 months time frame was given to it to discuss the matter with its suppliers and present its report to us so that contract may be awarded to it, he told.

The court asked which were the suppliers of 4 gas. They were wood side Australian company, British petroleum, GDF Suez and Mitsui French company , he told.

“You have opened Pindora box here. You have selected GDF Suez for awarding contract and now it has become evident from your statement that the company in question is not bidder but it is supplier only”, CJP remarked.

“Awarding the contract to a company which is not included in bidding is strange”, justice Ejaz remarked. The CJP while adjourning the hearing till today directed G.A. Sabri not to waste his and the court�s time. All the facts be brought into the knowledge of the court instead of confusing it so that it could reach any decision, he remarked. .

As you can see, the Supreme Court has (either out of ignorance, or deliberately), created the impression that GDF Suez was given a contract for the integrated Mashal project – which is not correct. If you read the judgment, GDF Suez was given the contract to supply the LNG for the project, which is exactly what it was first contacted (via 4-gas) to do.

The legitimate question to me, is why was a second round of bidding (for the short term LNG supply) opened up (which was when Fauji rejoined the bidding after it had dropped out of its consortium with 4-gas for the long-term Mashal project), when GDF Suez had already been picked by the government and 4-gas as the supplier in the integrated project. Unfortunately the judgment does not answer that.

Here’s the description of the July 2009 bid:

In the meantime, vide another advertisement dated 18th July,
2009, SSGCL invited Expression of Interest for Short Term
LNG Supply, contents whereof read as under:-

“The Government of Pakistan (GOP) through the
Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Resources, has been
progressing the long term, base load, integrated “Pakistan
Mashal LNG Project” with facilitation by Sui Southern Gas
Company Ltd.
In view of the acute shortage of natural gas in the country and
consequent shortfall in electricity generation, GOP now wishes
to separately secure readily available Liquefied Natural Gas
(LNG) on short term basis (up to 5 years). Parties having access
to LNG volumes for immediate delivery are requested to provide
an either FOB or CIF basis, an “Expression of Interest” to the
General Manager (Materials Management) on the address given
below by 31 July, 2009.”

j) It seems that in response to above advertisement, 10
companies got registration including FAUJI/VITOL in this
project and ultimately except FAUJI/VITOL, remaining
companies were short listed.

Now the questions I have are, 1) considering that GDF Suez had already been under consideration for the short term supply before the decision to invite bidders was taken, was the GDF Suez offer placed into the pool of new bidders? 2) Why was the new letter sent out anyway? 3) Why did Fauji drop out of the original consortium with 4-gas for the Mashal project? 4) Why did it reappear, offering a terminal in response to the second advertisement when that was clearly not required since 4-gas was already building the terminal??

The judgment doesn’t answer this very simple set of questions.

Rauf Klasra and the GDF Suez case

Remember that whole $1 billion loss caused to our nation thing?
Well, it’s not true. If you don’t believe me, read the judgment:

15. Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Sr. ASC states that GDF Suez is not involved in any manner in deal causing loss to the nation of Pakistan yet on appearing of the news item and initiation of instant proceedings thereon, has caused damage to its goodwill, therefore, appropriate order protecting its position be passed in this behalf. Mr. Rauf Klasra, Senior Correspondent, daily newspaper ‘The News ’, however, reaffirms the stand taken by him in the news item. Be that as it may, as determination on merits has not been made by this Court to declare the involvement of GDF Suez, no order/observation is required to be passed in this behalf.

i.e. the $1 billion loss claim was a bunch of baloney, but CJ won’t admit it so he’s shifting the goal posts.

Remember Rauf Klasra’s claim that GDF Suez was not part of any bidding process and was suddenly awarded the contract out of the blue? Well, that’s not true either. First read Barrister Ali Zafar’s statement on the matter:

Earlier, Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, the counsel for Sui Southern Gas Company, argued that the Mashal project was an integrated terminal meaning that supply, storage and re-gasification of LNG to be conducted by developer 4-Gas.

“The 4-Gas has proposed the names, among others, of GDF-Suez for the LNG supply and the government negotiated and discussed the terms with them. The negotiated terms for supply of LNG with GDF-Suez were approved by the consultants and a summary was then taken to the ECC,” Barrister Zafar said.

Then the statement of Naim Sharafat of SSGC in the judgment:

therefore, the floating terminal option, offered by the Consortium of 4-Gas, Fauji Foundation and Fotco was accepted. However, in April, 2008 the Fauji Foundation and Fotco withdrew from the Consortium. So far, award is under process. We asked the 4-Gas whether it will continue on the project as on stand on basis, to which they replied that they take the responsibility and will continue on the project. After the price proposal, etc. as the market was very tight and no supply was available, some LNG projects also started in the private sector. For this reason, it was said by the LNG supplier (i.e. Qatar Petroleum, the largest supplier of LNG in the international market and the Foregas has to take supply from it) that it will only deal with the Company having Letter of Exclusivity. Since there was no provision in the tender document for issuance of Letter of Exclusivity, therefore, Ministry of Petroleum after approval of ECC, issued Letter of Support not Letter of Exclusivity on 17th December, 2008, which was valid only for nine months, during which the Foregas had to identify the suppliers and those suppliers had to submit original documents showing their capacity to supply and the period of supply. On 26th August, 2009 these documents were supplied to us. After that Price Negotiation Committee (PNC) was constituted, who also negotiated the matter with Shell, GDF Suez, BP, Total, Woodside and Mitsubishi for supply. Ultimately, best offer was made by GDF Suez for the first six years.

In July, 2009 fresh Expression of Interest was invited for short term supply of LNG on the direction of Minister for Petroleum. At that time Dr. Aasim was Incharge of the Ministry. Letter in this behalf was issued by the Director General Gas to issue Expression of Interest ad for supply of gas for short term i.e. five years. Upon receipt of bids, the same were sent to the Ministry of Petroleum with our reservations over it that it will complicate the situation and both the processes are to be dealt with separately and a clear line is to be drawn between both the processes. However, we received instructions to proceed as such we continued the process. In end of July, 2009, we received ten bids from different companies/consortium including Shell, Fauji Foundation/Vitol, Engro Exel, etc. in response to advertisement made in all local leading newspapers including Dawn, News, Jang, etc. Since it was not the Mashal Project and was short term LNG Project, therefore, we did not involve our Consultant. After general evaluation of these ten bids, we proposed to the Ministry of
Petroleum that Shell Gas & Power is a company, which can supply LNG; secondly we proposed though Fauji/Vitol has offered the package for supply along with terminal, having capacity of 1 million ton of LNG but it is not involved in the LNG business, as evident from their web-site. Since Price Evaluation Committee was constituted in the meantime and it also considered Shell as it was included in the suppliers of Mashal project as well as in short term
LNG project and Fauji/Vitol. These negotiations were only for supplies as it had already been decided that terminal would be of Foregas because it was installing both land based as well as floating terminals; although our main concern was land based terminal but its cost was too high, which would result in high tariff of the gas so we preferred the floating terminal option; we asked to establish floating terminal for 5/6 years and then to convert it into land based terminal. Negotiations were made on price formula and volume of supply; the final result of the negotiations was sent to the Consultants for their opinion; on 22nd January, 2010 they opined that the offer of GDF Suez with regard to medium term supply is very attractive and if there is no other proposal like it, we should go by it (copy of that opinion shall be supplied). They also opined that in case of supply for 20 years, there will be greater risk; the supplier will not take such risk and put it in the price formula as well as we also cannot take risk, but for the supply of 5/6 years there is calculated risk therefore, the cost will be less. The final summary is made by the Ministry of Petroleum, however, we just submit the evaluation report as well as other documents along with our recommendations made in line with the recommendations of the Consultant. We are not involved in the preparation of summary. Since, in the instant case the summary was prepared on the basis of price negotiation and the Price Negotiation Committee, Chaired by Special Secretary, who had all the necessary documents with him, was involved in it and we just forwarded the opinion of our Consultant. So further process was completed by them without our involvement except the fact that I also remained as member of the Price Negotiation Committee after October, 2009. The main recommendation was of GDF Suez for six years as per the quoted price rate, whereafter GDF Suez was offering 1 million ton which could go up to 1.5 million ton per year. Fauji/Vitol had not made any separate offer for supply of LNG alone as their offer made in July, 2009 was for supply with
terminal. The advertisement made in July, 2009 was for supply only whereas the Fauji/Vitol made offer for supply with terminal. It was not recommended as it was not in Mashal Project whereas this summary was for Mashal Project. Though they had made new offer for short term project but they had withdrawn from Mashal Project. Mashal Project is separate and short term LNG Project is separate. We have not considered the Fauji/Vitol in Mashal Project.”

This matches the earlier statement made by the GDF Suez spokesperson on April 21:

Gdf-Suez spokesperson Armelle Dillar through an email claimed that the company has been awarded this long-term contract through an open bidding process by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC). The email reads: “From July 2009 to January 2010 Gdf-Suez participated in Mashal process to supply Pakistan with LNG and submitted its final offer to the price negotiating committee on January 2010. On the February 9, the company was selected as the preferred bidder by ECC of the government of Pakistan for the sale of up to 3.5mtpa of LNG in the framework of long-term supply contract.”

To summarize, Rauf Klasra’s claim of $1 billion loss to the country was not supported by anything in the judgment. In fact, the Fauji bid, because it included a terminal and not just a supply of LNG, was unsuited to the need at hand. His claim that GDF Suez emerged out of the blue as a supplier of LNG was also untrue. Apparently the GDF Suez CEO told Rauf Klasra that he’s going to sue him for defamation. I hope he does. GDF Suez has also said that it’s going to enter in the new bidding process.

It would be nice if there was one journalist out there who could read the judgment and who had access to the various statements made to the court by everyone concerned and could parse through the wild claims being made by Rauf Klasra and write an objective account of this case. It would be pretty important to read the actual recorded statements because this judgment itself is really unclear. For one thing, the CJ claims that “ommissions” and a “lack of transparency” has occurred but does not elaborate exactly why this is so.

From the very beginning Rauf Klasra has only been interested in defaming all parties concerned. This was his sweeping judgment of Sheikh Waqas Akram and the members of the standing committee on Petroleum which was assigned the task of probing Klasra’s allegations.

ISLAMABAD: A rather distasteful attempt by National Assembly standing committee on Petroleum & Natural Resources to give a clean chit to top government guns involved in a day light robbery in a multibillion dollar NLG deal has put a big question mark over the competency and acumen of politicians to select top judges through a fair process by a parliamentary judicial commission.

Sheikh Waqas Akram answers Klasra’s allegations here:

And there is really nothing in the judgment that contradicts Sheikh Waqas Akram’s claim. Of course Rauf Klasra is arguing today that the only reason the court wasn’t able to prove the $1 billion scam was because the government beat a hasty retreat, which he considers an admission of guilt. Could it be that all the parties concerned are more interested in salvaging what’s left of the project before it’s too late?

After reading about this whole sorry episode, one is left wondering which foreign firm would be crazy enough to invest in Pakistan’s energy sector. If it’s not journalists like Rauf Klasra, armed with leaked documents from god knows where (although given that the Fauji Foundation MD has admitted that after their bid was rejected they contacted the ISI, you don’t have to be a genius to guess the source of the leaks), then it’s WAPDA and its tariff issues driving away investors like the Chinese company Shenhua willing to invest in Thar coal not once, but two times. If that doesn’t work, then it’s Saif-ur Rehman and the Ehtesab Bureau slapping corruption charges on HUBCO executives just so that the government can blackmail the IPPs into accepting a lower tariff because WAPDA is perpetually broke. And to top it all, morons in the media are treating this judgment like it’s the dawn of some kind of new era of judicial independence where the judiciary is checking corruption. Maybe everyone should read about the 1998 actions against HUBCO by the joint efforts of the PML-N government and the LHC which severely damaged the confidence of foreign investors in Pakistan and made a mockery of Pakistan’s sovereign guarantee. Back then, that action was also saluted as a great progress against “corruption” when in hindsight it was simply an exercise in shooting ourselves in the foot repeatedly while under the impression that it was some kind of jihad.

Where is the Baitullah Mehsud audiotape?

The easiest way for the military to put to rest any suspicions that the Musharraf government was involved in falsifying evidence after the death of Benazir Bhutto is to produce the audiotape of the conversation between Baitullah Mehsud and his associate which Brigiadier Cheema claimed that the ISI had intercepted on Dec 27 2007. The joint investigative team of the FIA formed after the release of the UN Report has approached the ISI directly but apparently been rebuffed and so the Interior Ministry is now approaching the ISI via the Defence Ministry to get this tape.

Why isn’t the military releasing this tape for analysis? If the military is unable to produce the tape than the only conclusion is that the Musharraf government deliberately falsified evidence immediately following the death of Benazir Bhutto.

No progress in talks – what a shock

So can we just agree now that there can never be any progress in India-Pakistan talks until the military is back in power because the aim of the military’s foreign policy is complete control of the government and until that’s achieved, it’s obvious there can be no peace with India that’s acceptable to the security establishment?

In this situation, a civilian government has two options. 1) Go rogue like Nawaz Sharif with Vajpayee or Asif Zardari at the Hindustan times summit. At that point, the government can expect a ‘munh toR jawab’ from the security establishment (Kargil / Mumbai) followed by a complete withdrawal of support from all levels of society thanks to the plausible deniability problem or 2) do a Salman Bashir and simply act like a troll displaying absolutely no intention of any kind of willingness to talk about anything substantial

Notwithstanding India’s insistence on action against Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, Pakistan was today non-committal on action against the mastermind of Mumbai attacks and several other terror strikes in India.

“Same old beaten track,” said Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi when asked for his response to India’s repeated demand that action should be taken against Saeed in connection with Mumbai attacks.

He said Saeed was arrested twice by Pakistan government but courts let him off “because in the eyes of the judicial process, the evidence against him was not strong enough to keep him locked up. That is a legal process. You have an independent judiciary, so do we.”

Asked whether Pakistan was making any efforts to collect evidence against Saeed in connection with terror activities so that he could be tried, Mr. Qureshi vaguely said, “Pakistan has, is and will continue to try and collect evidence against any terrorist. We do not want our soil to be used against anyone.”

Queried whether it meant that even Saeed would not be allowed to use Pakistani soil against India, he repeated, “anyone… anyone means anyone.”

He, however, refused to name Saeed specifically despite being asked whether it included Saeed.

“How can you arrest someone on hearsay?” was the response of Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit when asked why Pakistan was not taking action against Saeed.

Claiming that Pakistan had “done enough” in punishing Saeed, Mr. Basit said he was detained twice but was released. “We have an independent and fair judiciary as is the case in India.”

India has given a lot of material to Pakistan detailing Saeed’s involvement in various terror activities in India.

Pakistan, however, keeps saying that it was not enough.

Agitated over this attitude of Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently said there was no need to give any more material about Saeed’s terror involvement as proof against him, even that gathered by American agencies, was already in public domain.

How sad


In the Arghandab district of Kandahar Province, two gunmen on a motorbike shot a respected tribal elder, Abdul Rahman, at 9 a.m. as he stood in front of his house. It was the 13th assassination of a tribal elder since mid-February.

Mr. Rahman was one of the elders who spoke up when President Hamid Karzai visited Kandahar three weeks ago and told him that much needed to change in his government, but that if it did, he and his sons would die for him, according both to local reporters in Kandahar and to the Arghandab police chief, Ezmary, who like many Afghans uses only one name.

“Rahman was one of the elders who told Karzai, ‘If you stop corruption and do more construction for the province, then me and my sons are ready to sacrifice for you,’ ” the police chief recalled.

You have to admire Kayani

– He fully grasped what a disaster the UN Commission Report could be for the military if not handled correctly right now
– He pre-empted any possible criminal investigation into Nadeem Ijaz Ahmed or any serving military officers
– He made a deal with Gilani who he knows is willing to compromise in exchange for more “trust” from the establishment (note how the media and Supreme Courts have obligingly stepped up attacks on the Sharifs in the last few days).
– He’s going to be the first COAS who allows a probe into a serving military officer
– He’s going to be able to cleanse the military of all bad association with the Musharraf brand
– By allowing the probe on his own terms, he’s going to get the credit for bringing the BB killers to justice


is Kayani going to make Nadeem Ijaz Ahmed a scapegoat?

Or is Hamid Mir just being Hamid Mir? Anyway, it would be an interesting move by Kayani – it would be a good way for him to complete the rehabilitation of the army in the public eye by dissociating the institution from the actions of Musharraf and his cronies.

Here’s one thing I was thinking about today – is Aslam Beg the best person to compare General Kayani to? Aslam Beg conducted Zarb-e-Momin during BB’s first term, General Kayani has just conducted Azm-e-Nau 3. Both had the task of rehabilitating the army’s public image after some damaging years; a weak and pliable civilian government; and to a certain extent a reputation for ‘staying out of politics’. Aslam Beg established his democratic credentials by allowing the 1988 elections to continue and Kayani by stepping in to ensure the restoration of the Chief Justice. And if Hamid Mir is right and Musharraf tried having Kayani removed in April 2008, then both Aslam Beg and Kayani have another thing in common and that is bad relations with their predecessor. (it’s often been speculated that Aslam Beg’s pro-Iran tilt could have motivated him to do away with Zia – Ijaz ul Haq has accused him of killing his father).

By comparing Kayani to Aslam Beg one comes to the interesting conclusion that both Zia and Musharraf were done away with when the usefulness of their particular geo-political focus outlived its function to the army as an institution. In both cases, the event that precipitated the downfall of the rulers was the changing politics resulting from the end of the Afghan war. Zia’s closeness to Saudi Arabia became a liability as did Musharraf’s closeness to the US (who is still writing WSJ op-eds about a phased withdrawal being a bad idea).

What’s interesting to me is that this changing internal dynamic within the military is so rarely discussed. The end of Musharraf’s rule has always been discussed as 1) the consequence of a popular “people’s” movement and 2) the result of bungled US pressure on the Musharraf regime. Here’s what I think, though – the “people” and the US are secondary to what the army wants the army to do. I guess that’s a testament to the army’s absolute supremacy in Pakistan. Even in the case of Nadeem Ijaz Ahmed – nothing and no one can make Kayani act against him except his own self-interest.

By Hamid Mir

ISLAMABAD: For the first time in the history of Pakistan, political leaders from the Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have united against a serving Army officer. They want the government to start investigations against the said Army officer not only on one count but also on many others.
Continue reading

So what happened exactly?

The Express Tribune reports

Only a day after the PPP decided to move against Musharraf and others mentioned in the UN report, media reports suggested that the government wanted to initiate a criminal case against Nadeem Ijaz and former Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Ijaz Shah.

But the same day Army chief Ashfaq Pervaz Kayani met with President Asif Ali Zardari and Gilani. Though little details of the meeting were made available to the media, experts believe the meeting was linked with the development. They believe the powerful military would never allow anybody to embarrass any of its attached agencies.

So Gillani responded to General Kayani’s chastisement by coming up with the 3-member committee that will determine within 7 days whether or not ex DG MI Naedeem Ijaz Ahmed was involved in the order to hose down the crime scene.

Secretary Cabinet Division Abdul Rauf Chaudhry will head the committee, comprising two civilian and one military official. The other members are Maj-Gen Sajjad Ghani, the Vice Chief of General Staff, and Fayyaz Tooru, the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Peshawar.

This reminds me of the events leading to the dismissal of Muhammad Khan Junejo’s goverment by Zia in 1988. At the time, due mainly to Junejo’s bold stance on the matter, two separate reports had been commissioned on the Ojhri Camp explosion. The first was by a military committee headed by a serving general and the second was by a parliamentary committee (note the ever-present “parallel investigation” mentioned by the UN report) Like the probe on Benazir Bhutto’s murder, the work of this committee was controversial and inconclusive:

Controversy surrounded the findings of this committee. The members could not reach a consensus on who was responsible for the Ojhri tragedy. In his remarks, the head of the committee, Aslam Khattak concluded, “No one was responsible. It was an act of Allah.”

However, the minister of state for defence, Rana Naeem Mehmood, a hawk in the Junejo cabinet and a die hard proponent of democracy, prepared a non paper which was signed by three of the five members of the political inquiry committee. The paper recommended the court martial of senior Generals and laid the blame on General Akhtar Abdul Rehman. “Many believe that this paper cost Junejo his government,” reports The News.

The Junejo government was dismissed before the parliamentary committee could even conclude its report, although the military committee had already submitted its report to the President.

According to one of the members of the committee, Rana Naeem Ahmed, who claimed that the ISI had physically seized the report from his office the day after the government’s dismissal, the report – like the UN report on Benazir’s murder – was ostensibly inconclusive but created a strong case for Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman, the then chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, being directly responsible for the incident.

Years later, Musharraf was said to have refused to make the contents of the report public because it contained information “against the national interest”.

Returning to the present situation, it seems that the Prime Minister – by appointing senior bureaucrats and a recently promoted senior military official to this committee – has displayed far less courage than a Prime Minister who was considered to be a powerless dummy.

There is a very slim chance that the military will allow Nadeem Ijaz Ahmed to be the fall guy for this report in order to save the army, as an institution, from blame. But to be honest, I considered that the military’s back up plan if there was any sort of pressure on it. Since the PPP has not exerted much pressure regarding the pursuit of serving military officials named in the report, the army will be under no compulsion to pick any scapegoats from within its ranks.

Anyway, according to Dawn:

Informed sources told Dawn that soon after the release of the UN Commission’s report on Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, senior army officials had asked the prime minister to form a high-level committee to dig out the truth behind the erasure of potential evidence.

“As the naming of a senior military official in the report was something embarrassing for the top army command, it sought formation of a body to determine if the former DG MI had a role in the episode or not,” they said.

It will be a rare case of probe into the possible role of a senior military officer in a crime.

So this committee can be interpreted as either the army pre-empting any possible investigations into Nadeem Ijaz Ahmed (sort of like CJ’s suo moto over the Swat flogging case which quickly concluded that the video was a fake) or deciding, of its own volition to offer Nadeem Ijaz Ahmed up as a scapegoat In either case, it’s the army and not the PPP that decides what happens from now onwards.

Amnesty International vs. the Lahore High Court

In 2004, the Lahore High Court struck down the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance of 2000 in a controversial ruling. If you’re interested, here’s Amnesty International’s rebuttal of the LHC verdict. Makes for interesting reading:


Amnesty International’s comments on the Lahore High Court judgment of December 2004 revoking the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 3(1)

1. Introduction
The slow progress towards protection of child rights in Pakistan initiated by the ratification of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)(1) in 1990 and the introduction of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, 2000 (JJSO) came to an abrupt halt when, on 6 December 2004, the Lahore High Court(2) revoked the JJSO with effect for the whole country. The JJSO was promulgated on 1 July 2000 and focuses on the child in the criminal justice process. It defines the child in line with international standards as a person below 18 years of age(3); provides for the establishment of special juvenile courts exclusively to try juveniles under special procedures suitable for children; regulates the arrest of children by police as well as bail and probation; provides for the appointments of special panels of lawyers to assist children free of charge in court; and prohibits the death penalty and the use of fetters and handcuffs for children.

The ratification of the CRC and passing of the JJSO were major landmarks for the protection of child rights in Pakistan. However, the implementation of the JJSO has been very slow in the five years following its promulgation. Some of its provisions were not implemented at all, others only very haltingly and partially. The law was only enforced in select parts of the country leaving the criminal justice system in other areas without any child rights protection. The conclusion reached by Amnesty International in 2003 in its report on juveniles that “despite the promulgation of the JJSO the rights of young people accused of criminal offences continue to be denied” stands unaltered.(4) Amnesty International’s latest report(5) published alongside the present report looks at the implementation of the JJSO pointing to areas in which implementation is less than adequate, building on or updating the findings of Amnesty International’s 2003 report. A special focus of the latest report is the death penalty for juveniles which Amnesty International hopes will be permanently abolished in law and practice in Pakistan – one of the last countries where this blatant violation of the CRC and of customary international law outlawing the death penalty for juveniles continues to be reported. It concludes with a set of recommendations for a more effective implementation of the JJSO.

The present report analyses the arguments of the Lahore High Court judgment on the basis of which it revoked the JJSO and presents Amnesty International’s comments on each of these in the light of international human rights law and standards. Amnesty International considers the judgment a major setback for the protection of the rights of children in contact with the criminal justice system. The organization believes that while some of the High Courts’ arguments point to a lack of clarity in the JJSO and to real problems of implementation, none of these constitute a sufficient ground to revoke the JJSO. The JJSO overrides and consolidates existing provincial and federal law on juveniles and protects child rights at a national level. Its promulgation results from an international obligation which Pakistan assumed when it ratified the CRC in 1990.(6)
Continue reading