WASHINGTON: Pakistan extended full cooperation to the CIA in tracing suspected terrorists and provided secret detention and interrogation facilities to the US intelligence agency, says a report.
A Washington-based rights advocacy group, Open Society Justice Initiative, reported that Pakistan “captured, detained, interrogated, tortured, and abused” hundreds of individuals for the CIA.
The report documents participation of 54 foreign governments in CIA’s operations against terrorists and was first published by The New York Times on Tuesday and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's daughter Amrit Singh is one of the principal writers of the report.
The chapter on Pakistan shows that the country also permitted its airspace and airports to be used for flights associated with CIA’s operations.
A 2010 UN report observed that from December 2001 until the summer of 2002, Pakistan operated a secret detention programme under which detainees were initially detained in Pakistan before being transferred to Afghanistan and/or to Guantanamo Bay.
Former President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged capturing 672 alleged Al Qaeda members and handing over 369 of them to the United States.
According to Amnesty International, “most of the known victims of rendition were initially detained in Pakistan.”
The report says that Pakistani authorities were involved in the capture of about a dozen key al-Qaeda suspects and also initially detained, interrogated, tortured, and abused dozens of other suspects.
The report includes information provided by Human Rights Watch and other advocacy groups about Pakistan’s role in these captures and detentions.
Furthermore, it claims that Pakistan has allowed use of its airports and airspace for flights operated by Jeppesen Dataplan that were associated with CIA’s extraordinary rendition.
It quotes US court records as showing that in 2003, Pakistan allowed use of its airports and air space for at least one flight flown by the private charter company Richmor Aviation, which operated flights for the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme.
This flight was registered as N85VM and stopped over in Islamabad at some point between March 1 and 3, 2003.
Detention facilities in which detainees were held at the behest of the CIA include the ISI detention facility in Karachi, which was allegedly used as an initial detention and interrogation point before detainees were transferred to other prisons.
Although it is controlled by the ISI, detainees at the facility claim to have been interviewed by both US and British intelligence officials.
One such detainee, Binyam Mohamed, is quoted in the report as claiming that he was held there for a week and hung by his wrists.
It has been pointed out that there has been no official investigation in Pakistan into its complicity in CIA extraordinary renditions and secret detentions.
While many habeas corpus petitions have been filed in Pakistani courts on behalf of disappeared individuals, the vast majority of these petitions have been dismissed because Pakistani police and military agencies denied arresting or holding the individuals in question.
The report notes that in 2005 the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan stated that “these cases of disappearance brought to light the inadequacies of the habeas corpus process because the superior courts could offer no relief if the agency/force/department named as respondents denied the arrest or detention of the missing persons.”
The author is a correspondent for Dawn, based in Washington, DC.