Lacking courage

Two news items from the last couple of days. The first, yesterday’s 52 page report by the Punjab government that by all accounts seems to have ripped to shreds any illusion that the army has any commitment in bringing terrorists who attacked military personnel to justice.

There was already ample evidence for this last year when General Kayani dismissed all evidence in the GHQ attack and the military chose not to even press charges against the surviving terrorist from whom most of this evidence was derived. But the Punjab government’s report on the military’s conduct during the Surgeon general suicide attack case and the army bus attack case is even more damning. Some of these quotes have to be seen to be believed:

In both cases, FIRs were registered by the police through its own officials, and from backdates when the accused were handed over by the intelligence agencies after one-year detention. The Army neither had neither registered the FIRs nor its officials volunteered to stand in witness box and this job too was done by the police. No one from the Army represented the department in the court. “No one from any agency facilitated nor any liaison was made from any person to pursue the prosecution in the court of law.”

Nine accused, believed to have carried out the two attacks, were picked up, seven without any evidence. “Without an iota of evidence, seven accused were challaned out of nine,” the report said, and the remaining two were challaned on the statements of the police officials “whose statements were recorded after the lapse of one year”. The police officials privy to the matter told The News the accused were handed over to them after one year, the FIRs number 75 and 114 from February diary, were reserved to be filled on the receipt of the accused and hence it was done in backdate a year later. As none from the Army was ready to become a witness, two police officials were listed as witnesses

And it’s not just negligence either. Like the UN commission report on BB’s murder described, it goes beyond negligence into the realm of actively obstructing the investigation via the establishment’s favourite official, none other than CPO Saud Aziz famous for his role in obstructing the murder investigation of BB.

The report, besides questioning the role of Joint Interrogation Team (JIT), has also raised alarms about the agencies’ overstepping of their mandate. The JIT was headed by the then CPO, Saud Aziz, and had representatives from all the agencies, the report said. It further adds: “It is a matter of great concern that no one from the members of JIT bothered to record their comments or have even meeting for this purpose…Surprisingly, the investigation was conducted by the persons who were neither vested with the powers nor were members of the JIT, hence they were unauthorised, and were incompetent to investigate and finalise the investigation.” The report further notes: “It is time to think about the behaviour of all concerned, their non-cooperative attitude and to take action against the negligent officers in such high-profile case.”

Now what I want to know is where are our self-righteous tweets from Salmaan Taseer about this? About the army aiding and sheltering terrorists? Well, don’t hold your breath, there won’t be any. We’re all so enthralled by the military’s chosen narrative du jour (that the Punjab government shelters terrorists) that we won’t even blink when we see a paradigm shifting piece of news like this. We’re kind of dumb like that.

Now the second piece of news is SM Qureshi, PPP’s own foreign minister rejecting the allegations made by the UN Commission report on BB’s death:

, “without detracting from much of the good work done by the members of the commission”, said that comments and observations about the Pakistan Army, the Inter-Services Intelligence or the so-called establishment, are only the opinions of the members of the Commission. They do not represent authenticated determinations based on any fact or evidence.

So… all that stuff they said about their stand being vindicated by the findings of the report? Forget about that. There’s really not much that the PPP is apparently willing to not barter away in the interests of staying in the corridors of power.

Can’t you just imagine that Zia-ist asshole Qureshi saying this stuff in his snotty accent?

, “without detracting from much of the good work done by the members of the commission”, said that comments and observations about the Pakistan Army, the Inter-Services Intelligence or the so-called establishment, are only the opinions of the members of the Commission. They do not represent authenticated determinations based on any fact or evidence.

It makes me livid.

A couple of months ago I happened to come across a few minutes of a TV interview of Salmaan Taseer in which he was dismissing any thought of revenge for BB’s death. He said something like “the matter is over, the case is closed”. What we’re seeing is the Taseerization of the PPP.This is the PPP that follows the establishment line and condemns Rana Sanaullah for supporting terrorism and ignores the military’s own glaring failures. This is the PPP that not only refuses to follow up on BB’s murder investigation but spits in the face of an honest (some might say miraculously so) inquiry into her death.

In the matter of these two reports the terror supporting Punjab government displayed a lot more courage than the secular, progressive PPP.

Pakistani politics are strange and sad.

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