Tag Archives: deaths

Pakistani high court delays spy agency hearing

By Reza Sayah, CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan’s Supreme Court postponed a rare public hearing for the country’s secretive and powerful spy agency Thursday, a lawyer for one of the alleged victims of the agency said.

Long thought to be untouchable, the ISI, or Inter-Services Intelligence, has been ordered to produce seven men it’s accused of holding since 2010 and explaining the deaths of four other detainees.

But attorney Tariq Asad told CNN the court had delayed the hearing until Friday because other proceedings took up much of the day.

Asad said it was clear the lawyer for the ISI, who was present when the postponement was announced, had not brought the seven detainees to court as ordered. …

Read more » CNN

http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/09/world/asia/pakistan-spy-agency/index.html

ISI, MI admit to deaths of four Adiala prisoners

ISLAMABAD – The counsel for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) directors general conceded before the Supreme Court on Monday that four out of 11 prisoners of Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, picked up by intelligence personnel for investigation into their alleged role in the October 2009 attacks on General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, had died.

He said some of the remaining seven prisoners were in Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar and Internment Centre, Parachinar, thus he was unable to produce them in court. “No one is above the law and the prime minister also appeared in court when he was summoned,” the chief justice remarked. A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez, directed the spy agencies’ counsel Raja Muhammad Irshad to file a reply explaining the circumstances under which the four prisoners died and produce the remaining seven prisoners in court on February 9. ….

Read more » Pakistan Today

NYT: President Obama won’t say sorry for Pakistan soldier deaths

Obama Refrains From a Formal ‘I’m Sorry’ to Pakistan

By HELENE COOPER and MARK MAZZETTI

WASHINGTON — The White House has decided that President Obama will not offer formal condolences — at least for now — to Pakistan for the deaths of two dozen soldiers in NATO airstrikes last week, overruling State Department officials who argued for such a show of remorse to help salvage America’s relationship with Pakistan, administration officials said.

On Monday, Cameron Munter, the United States ambassador to Pakistan, told a group of White House officials that a formal video statement from Mr. Obama was needed to help prevent the rapidly deteriorating relations between Islamabad and Washington from cratering, administration officials said. The ambassador, speaking by videoconference from Islamabad, said that anger in Pakistan had reached a fever pitch, and that the United States needed to move to defuse it as quickly as possible, the officials recounted.

Defense Department officials balked. While they did not deny some American culpability in the episode, they said expressions of remorse offered by senior department officials and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were enough, at least until the completion of a United States military investigation establishing what went wrong.

Some administration aides also worried that if Mr. Obama were to overrule the military and apologize to Pakistan, such a step could become fodder for his Republican opponents in the presidential campaign, according to several officials who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

On Wednesday, White House officials said Mr. Obama was unlikely to say anything further on the matter in the coming days.

“The U.S. government has offered its deepest condolences for the loss of life, from the White House and from Secretary Clinton and Secretary Panetta,” said Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, referring to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, “and we are conducting an investigation into the incident. We cannot offer additional comment on the circumstances of the incident until we have the results.”

The American and Pakistani accounts of the NATO strikes vary widely. A former senior American official briefed on the exchange said Wednesday that the airstrikes came in the last 15 to 20 minutes of a running three-hour skirmish, presumably with Taliban fighters on one or both sides of the border. That is at odds with the Pakistani account that its troops were in a two-hour firefight with the Americans.

Pakistan, rejecting the American account, has blocked all NATO logistical supplies that cross the border into Afghanistan, given the Central Intelligence Agency 15 days to vacate the Shamsi air base from which it has run drone strikes into Pakistani tribal areas and announced that it will boycott an international conference on Afghanistan’s security and development next week in Bonn, Germany.

With everything at stake in the relationship with Pakistan, which the United States sees as vital as it plans to exit from Afghanistan, some former Obama administration officials said the president should make public remarks on the border episode, including a formal apology.

“Without some effective measures of defusing this issue, Pakistan will cooperate less rather than more with us, and we won’t be able to achieve our goals in Afghanistan,” said Vali Nasr, a former State Department official who specialized in Pakistan.

But David Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official and the author of “Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power,” said Pakistani officials need to understand that in the next year, the Obama administration will be less accommodating to Pakistani sensibilities.

“I do think that it’s important for them to recognize that political dynamics in the United States will lead to a hardening of U.S. positions, and the president will have less and less flexibility to accept the kind of behavior that he has in the past,” Mr. Rothkopf said. “The prognosis for U.S.-Pakistani relations is bleak.” …

Read more » THE NEW YORK TIMES

Syrian Troops Open Fire on Protesters in Several Cities

MICHAEL SLACKMAN

CAIRO — Military troops opened fire on protesters in the southern part of Syria on Friday, according to news reports quoting witnesses, hurtling the strategically important nation along the same trajectory that has altered the landscape of power across the Arab world.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in the southern city of Dara’a, on the border with Jordan, and in some other cities and towns around the nation took to the streets in protest, defying a state that has once again demonstrated its willingness to use lethal force. It was the most serious challenge to 40 years of repressive rule by the Assad family since 1982, when the president at the time, Hafez al-Assad, massacred at least 10,000 protesters in the northern Syrian city of Hama. …

Read more : Wichaar