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JI calls for withdrawal of Fata, Pata ordinances

July 29, 2011

President Zardari had endorsed whatever excesses the army had committed over the past three years, said the Jamaat-i-Islami Naib Amir.—Reuters photo

ISLAMABAD: Jamaat-i-Islami has threatened to move court against two presidential ordinances which gave extraordinary powers to the armed forces to deal with terrorist groups in tribal areas.

The ordinances signed by President Asif Ali Zardari on June 23 in Karachi in the presence of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar have been given retrospective effect from Feb 1, 2008, apparently to cover up the alleged extra-judicial killings in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata).

The allegations have been widely covered by the international media and investigated by the army as well. The ordinances were signed when the National Assembly was holding its last budget session.

“Anything done, action taken, orders passed, proceedings initiated, processes or communication issued, powers conferred, assumed or exercised by the armed forces or its members duly authorised in this behalf on or after February 1, 2008, and before the commencement of this regulation, shall be deemed to have been validly done, issued, taken, initiated, conferred, assumed and excursed and provisions of this regulation shall have, and shall be deemed always to have had, effect accordingly,” section 26 of the regulation said.

Jamaat-i-Islami Naib Amir Senator Prof Ibrahim Khan said at a news conference here on Friday that the president had endorsed whatever excesses the army had committed over the past three years.

He termed the move “murder of justice” and asked the president to immediately withdraw the ordinances. Otherwise, he warned, his party would use all options, including moving court to expose the wrongdoing.

The United States, it may be recalled, had taken notice of reports of extra-judicial killings in Swat in 2009-10 and urged Pakistan to investigate a controversial video footage on the internet apparently showing Pakistani soldiers summarily executing six blindfolded young men.

“We have raised this issue with the Pakistani government,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley had said in a briefing in December last year.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch had briefed the US State Department and congressional officials on “mounting evidence” of more than 200 summary executions of suspected Taliban sympathisers in Swat over the past eight months.

Hafiz Rashid, a Senator from Bajaur, had also pointed out an incident of mass killing and mass graves found in Bajaur and Mohmand agencies.

Prof Ibrahim said: “It is a source of grave concern that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor silently witnessed the signing of the act to authorise the army to kill people at will.” The act, he said, was in clear violation of fundamental human rights and his party intended to hold seminars and hold demonstrations against the barbaric law.

Section 19(2) of the ordinance says: “Any authorised official deposing on his behalf in or any official deemed to have proved the event, offences or happening by his statement or deposition and no other statements, depositions or evidence shall be required.”

The Jamaat leader said it was an irony that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who had announced abolition of FCRs in his first speech in the National Assembly, later not only retracted his statement but also failed to effect changes in the law as proposed by a special committee of the parliament.