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HRW urges govt to hold Musharraf accountable for rights violations

Published Mar 23, 2013 11:47pm


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Former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. —File Photo

KARACHI: The Pakistani government should hold the country’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf accountable for human rights abuses when he returns to Pakistan, Human Rights Watch said Saturday.

Musharraf is due to return to Pakistan on Sunday from Dubai, after nearly four years of self-imposed exile, in time to take part in parliamentary elections on May 11.

Legal proceedings are pending against General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in several human rights cases.

In November 2011, Musharraf was charged with involvement in the killing of Akbar Bugti, a Baloch nationalist leader who died under unclear circumstances while hiding in a cave in August 2006, after a long standoff with the Pakistani military.

In February 2011, Musharraf was declared an absconder after a court in Rawalpindi accepted the interim charge-sheet from Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which named the former president as one of the accused in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf has also been charged with the illegal removal from office and confinement of much of the country’s judiciary, including the serving chief justice of the Supreme Court, from November 2007 to March 2008.

“Musharraf should not be allowed to elude the serious legal proceedings against him on his return to Pakistan,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement issued from New York.

“Only by ensuring that Musharraf faces the well-documented outstanding charges against him can Pakistan put an end to the military’s impunity for abuses.”

Musharraf has the distinction of having suspended constitutional rule twice during his time in office, Human Rights Watch said.

After declaring a state of emergency in November 2007, he began a violent crackdown and ordered the detention of some 10,000 political opponents –including most of the country’s Supreme Court judges.

“Given the personal suffering many judges endured at Musharraf’s hands, it will be a real test for Pakistan’s judiciary, especially the chief justice, to ensure that prosecutions are impartial,” Hasan said.

“But this is a test they must face and pass if Pakistan is to send a clear message that it will not allow abusive military leaders to escape accountability.”

Under Musharraf’s watch, the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies allegedly committed widespread human rights violations, including the enforced disappearances of thousands of political opponents, particularly from Balochistan province.

“Throughout his years in office, Musharraf maintained that he was fully aware of the behaviour of security forces in Balochistan and that they had done no wrong,” Hasan said. “His role in the widespread abuses in Balochistan, including ‘disappearances’ during his rule, needs to be investigated and appropriately prosecuted.”

Musharraf persistently undermined the right to free expression and forcibly censored the media during his years in power, Human Rights Watch said. During the emergency, he shut down over 30 television channels and passed decrees muzzling the media.

Pakistan’s elected parliament has rolled back most of Musharraf’s unlawful decrees and reversed virtually all his self-empowering constitutional measures. However, there has been little progress in holding Musharraf accountable and others in his government responsible for egregious human rights abuses including killings, torture, and enforced disappearances, Human Rights Watch said.

“It is fortunate for General Musharraf that Pakistan is a democracy today that will neither force him back into exile nor prevent him from participating in the political process as Musharraf did to his opponents,” Hasan said.

“But it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that Musharraf is fully investigated and fairly prosecuted for abuses such as torture and disappearances that were widespread under his rule,” he added.


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Comments (73) Closed

Jamshed Khan Mar 23, 2013 07:22pm
I am not his fan but he did no worse on human rights than the current government. Our country is full of human rights violations; why single out Musharraf?
Saj Mar 23, 2013 07:29pm
Shame on HRW!!!!it should be tried for criminal negligence for siding with the current government
anicma Mar 23, 2013 07:58pm
Gosh! Musharraf looks like a typical Pakistani.
sajid Mar 23, 2013 08:07pm
How much HRW will take to keep silent, Why don't they go to Kashmir and find out what going out their. they serve better where they get better payroll
Riaz Mar 23, 2013 08:15pm
Does HRW remember that it was Musharraf that gave licenses to new media corporations to start their TV channels and gave freedom of speech rights to them? I think HRW conveniently forgets the good things that he has done, and only remembers some of blunders that happened during his time. He is a human as well, and mistakes happen. If HRW is so much concerned about Human Rights ... why are they not doing anything to stop the drone attacks that still continued to happen in PPP government's time? HRW is spineless! Shame on HRW!
marghoob siddiqui (@mab_greenish) Mar 23, 2013 08:20pm
Murderer of Benazir must be punished first. Every one in Pakistan knows who is the murdrer and got full advantage of her death.
Shau ali Mar 23, 2013 08:22pm
All the charges against him are very weak. Human right organizations did not see what the last Govt official did with humans. They have put the innocent people on death row no body knows what time is his turn. All people of Pakistan are waiting duck to be hunted. But Zardari is protected by illegally erecting fort walls of Bilawal house and Nawaz in Raiwind. No body watch them but they are very much concerned on Bugti's killing but what Bugti was doing how much he did wrong with the people or how many he his sons and brothers killed are not known to these people. Please do not do politics on his issue he is a natural real leader. For his ten years tenure no body can say that he has eaten any unfair money or did any corruption from the public funds. What a great credit on his account!
farid Mar 23, 2013 08:22pm
All politicians except Imran Khan should be hanged in Pakistan.
ram Mar 23, 2013 09:14pm
Only man remains for criticism is Jinnah for Posthomous punishment for creating a country of Thankless, insolent intollerant and hypocrates. What rurals and farmers got?...slavery of generation. We Muslims never can digest good food....Scholars like Jaffer as Sadiq was killed by putting boiling lead in Ear. Mohd bin Qasim was sewn in a bag...from Sind to Syria.
choudhury Mar 23, 2013 09:17pm
I thinks Musharraf is great leader if any one compare to past and current govorment. he may coming from military when he was in power not much terrorism under the current govorment Taliban is killing innocent people almost every day. same on HRW not telling anything to current govorment fail to protect Pakistani people life. its not govorment responsibility protect innocent peoples life ??? under the current govorment how many Pakistani innocent people die drone attack, govorment duty to protect public life. where is HRW. he save more Pakistani life compare to current elected govorment. now time to judge ???
Cyrus Howell Mar 23, 2013 09:19pm
Future News Flash: Former Pakistan army general Pervez Musharraf shot in the back while resisting arrest.
Hyder Husain Mar 23, 2013 10:09pm
The West wants to destabilise Pakistan because they have long term interests in this region and a disciplined and professionally trained institution like pakistan Army stands as a roadblock. Human Rights Watch, being an institution of the West will obviously write against Musharraf. Who does not know that a free media is the gift of Musharraf to Pakistan. Free media is the essence of democracy. Can there be a greater gift.
Abid Mar 23, 2013 10:26pm
Shame on HRW for insulting great leader of Pakistan Pervaiz Musharraf. Musharraf is a savior of Pakistan. A true nationalist.
Amjad Wyne Mar 23, 2013 11:40pm
Her husband had a lot of time and the entire country's resources behind him to pursue it but he did not.
Hassan Mar 24, 2013 12:12am
This is very unfortunate that sincere, loyal and committed Pakistanis are treated as traitor and those who looted the country's wealth running the country and became the head of state. Human Rights Watch is a joke, they should be shamed of what is happening in Karachi.... Musharraf has been man of his words, he doesn't need to comeback to Pakistan for his own sake as he is passing peaceful life in Dubai and London, he has been treated as a most respectable person in civilized world. In today's situation if this is anyone who can lead the country as a strong leader that is Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan needs a strong leader and he is the man. He is the man who introduced of 'SAB SAY PEHLAY PAKISTAN'. Musharraf is the threat of all looters, cheaters and liers but message has already been written the wall. Hassan
AK Mar 24, 2013 12:38am
Seriously?? Is Musharraf the worst violator of human rights and press freedom in Pakistan and deserves to be singled out? Have you actually looked at what PPP and PML governments have done in the past, e.g. in Karachi operations in 90s and Baluchistan operation in 70s? Have you forgotten the crack-down of PML on Jang group in 1998/99 and how on the other hand Musharraf tolerated worst criticism on his self from the press for most of his tenor?
pakistani Mar 24, 2013 12:53am
go Musharraf go
Shahid Mar 24, 2013 01:17am
whatever the case may be, he should be punished for all the crimes during his rule, fair!
Mustafa Razavi Mar 24, 2013 02:40am
Who appointed them to watch human rights?
Ayaz Mar 24, 2013 03:11am
The HRW is only popalizing this criminal
Shahid Mar 24, 2013 03:22am
I think HRW priorities are misplaced. Instead of dwelling on Musharraf they should be more concerned about the plight of minorities and the poor who are victimized on a daily basis by rich and powerful. Why we don't hear HRW voice, loud and clear, on child labor, denying opportunities for education to girls, police excess to hapless and voiceless and the victims of the of the sectarian strife? In spite of some errors of judgement, the Musharraf years were relatively peaceful and economically stable and his personal conduct was corruption free. All the politicians of the yester years are now back in the fold and busy planning to get power again, so let's give this chance to Musharraf as well. Let the people decide, through the power of vote, what they think of this Ex-Ruler
Altaf Mar 24, 2013 03:52am
This coward general should be brought to justice for: Disappereance of hundreds of people and their loved ones are still searching them after several years. Killing of thousands of men, women and children in drone attacks
Fida Sayani Mar 24, 2013 03:53am
do not tell me that he is living a luxurious life in London and Dubai on his hard earned salary as a commando and general?
Pakistani Mar 24, 2013 05:04am
Dawn and its management is a biased newspaper. It has lost the credibiliy it was once had
Ahmed Mar 24, 2013 05:13am
Why single out Musharraf? Perhaps because he is the only ruler who openly boasted (in his book, "In Line of Duty" or something) of having "disappeared" over 800 individuals without legal process? Or perhaps because he is the only military chief in history who sabotaged a peace meeting between two elected prime ministers by attacking in Kargill? Or perhaps because it was he who allowed terrorism to spread by making bogus distinctions between "freedeom fighters" and "terrorists" and allowing the taliban and al qaeda to find root in Pakistan and at the same time fooled Pakistanis into thinking that to defend Pakistan from attacks by these animals is to fight "America's war"? I could go on. But hope this helps.
Mohammad Ahmed Mar 24, 2013 05:13am
Why the HRW does not look what is happening in Karachi-target killing, abduction for ransom and all the bad things happening in karachi and Pakistan. The people responsible in the current central govt and provincial governments. What action does HRW take I like to know. I am wondering why Dawn give importance to shameless HRW.
HM, Canada Mar 24, 2013 06:17am
Yes Zardari should be punished first....
akhter husain Mar 24, 2013 06:30am
Yes I agree with HRW's demand of punishing Mr Musharraf,not for committing any crime,but refusing to dole out public money,in billions, to HRW..After all they also need lot of dollars for merry making.
shankar Mar 24, 2013 07:02am
Beacuse he made the mistake of bringing back democracy!
Samad Chaudhry Mar 24, 2013 07:35am
Musharaff had done a lot of good in comparison to these present rulers Ali Baba and 400 thieves He must be given a chance to defend himself. He is neither a murderer nor a thief These so called Bhutto clan with palaces in Dubai and London have looted the nation and now Bilawal Zardari (Bhutto) will follow evil steps equally Nawaz Sharif is hardly innocent and then BHAI in London about whom George Galloway asked a question in Parliament as to why was he given British citizenship when they new he is running a terrorist cells in Karachi God save Pakistan from all Satanic activities. These so called Mullahs who were against the creation of Pakistan and now want to own the beautiful Pakistan by killing innocents on the name of Islam.
Tanweer Mar 24, 2013 08:46am
I feel sorry to see the sentimentally charged comments here. If Bugti was involved in any wrong doings, that does not qualify any one to shoot him down bypassing the law. Neither if other other politicians are involved in criminal activities grans license to kill to Musharraf or anybody else. Each an every individual is accountable for his deeds and nobody is above the law be in Sharif, Zardari, Musharraf, Imran Khan or Altaf, no one. We as readers are no one to issue verdict for whom to hang whom to spare. Lets go to court, prove the crimes and let the law take its course.
M. Alvi Mar 24, 2013 09:16am
I agree. All the charges against Musharraf are political. All other politicians, except a few have been committing crimes all their lives in Pakistan. Prosecute all of them, including Nawaz and Zardari, and hang them. When you are finished with all of them, we will look at Musharraf.
M. Alvi Mar 24, 2013 09:17am
And that we all believe is Zardari.
M. Alvi Mar 24, 2013 09:21am
What do you mean by that; I think he talks like a real leader.
M. Alvi Mar 24, 2013 09:26am
I believe that those who are siding with the present government should all be tried for crimes committed by the present government - Musharraf's case is a test. By the way, Dawn is also siding with the present government.
Khalid Mar 24, 2013 09:37am
what a rubbish statement given by Mr Ali Diyan Hasal, he should think twice before giving a silly statement. The people who should be accountable are the Zardari's Governement. Ther is more abuse their time than in Musharrafs time.
Saleem Mar 24, 2013 10:14am
Musharraf, is a true leader, i support him on his all decisions in which he took actions against traitors and corrupt feudal lords. like Bugti, who imposed his brutal power on innocent Balochies and other looters of our beloved country, no one has the guts to take these type of bold steps as most of the politicians who were in power just looking after their own vested interest that is to get siphon the wealth belong to Pakistani nation out of the country. i personally don't care if someone brings in law and order , prevail justice, security and safety and progress the country forward, the nation has experienced and know all what was the situation in his period and what happened during Zardari
pk surendran Mar 24, 2013 10:36am
rights are for those who respect law. what rights who either support terror or part of it? why should Musharaff be responsible for anti-terror works.
sajjad Mar 24, 2013 11:57am
HRW should start from Bush family in united states of america who started the chain. right?
raika45 Mar 24, 2013 12:19pm
Why would Musharraf come back unless he has a well laid out plan? This man is up to something. The question is what?Pakistan can wait and watch.An ex top army man can have pretty good powerful backers.Especially if he is alive and kicking and back in the limelight.
None Mar 24, 2013 01:08pm
First HRW should be held accountable for not opening their mouth agaist those who killed thousands of Pakistani civilians and security forces personnel. Do they have human rights or not if they do then talk about that first. Musharraf did the best he could to protect Pakistan while the people killed in his period like Nawabs and Sardars were killers of their own people while Lal Masjid people are like Animals in Burqa in the Masjid having long Beard or Black Burqa does not mean they are Muslims in true sense or even human being. Musharraf is a human being but a honest competent leader and those are against him look at them Corrupt/and incompetent to the core. Country have seen fruits of political leadership in last five years I think enough is enough now.
Javed Anwar Mar 24, 2013 02:01pm
I 100 percent agree with this.
ali ahmed Mar 24, 2013 02:02pm
thousands of people had been killed in karachi in the name of target killing...why HRW is silent over the killing
Khan Mar 24, 2013 02:25pm
HRW is not more than bunch of fashionable women's and men's who collect money in the name of Human rights for their personal gains, where was HRW when nawaz sharif, naseer ullah babar and army massacred Karachi citizens in 1992 operation clean up.
Kalim Mar 24, 2013 02:40pm
He is a born leader. Glad he is back.
hyderphd74 Mar 24, 2013 02:50pm
No body "murdered" Ms. Bhutto. She invited her death upon herself by standing up in her armored vehicle in spite of knowing all the threats she had been receiving on her life.
Agha Ata (USA) Mar 24, 2013 02:58pm
In most of his work he did only half of the job, with the exception of 100% killing a couple of people.
amir Mar 24, 2013 03:46pm
its all beyond understanding on grass root level, aspects should be highlight clearly so that even a peon or a simple former can get all whats going on. then let themexpose their opinions. if u agree like otherwise dislike
Asma Tanoli Mar 24, 2013 05:12pm
It is unfortunate that HRW should come out with such a statement. In fact, Musharraf has one of the best records for Human Rights. He appointed Ansar Burney to personally ensure against any violation of human rights and release any prisoners who may have been illegally detained. He allowed free press and electronic media. He observed more human rights than any civilian leaders in the past or present. Mr Bugti's murder was none of his doing. He sent army officers and jawans to negotiate with him but unfortunately Mr Bugti decided to kill them and also himself. Musharraf has never been unfair to anyone - not even to Nawaz Sharif who almost got him killed when he did not let his plane land. I am not sure if there is another example of kind and caring leader in any other developing country as Musharraf was. Shame on HRW. I lost my faith in them.
Farooq Mar 24, 2013 06:03pm
How about human right watch before and after musharaf time, if we are to go down that path. Lets be consistent, and fair to all. HRW is making a mockery of itself.
Shah Mar 24, 2013 06:31pm
HRW is paid by other countries, What a pity, criminal and killer are moving freely and this organization is demanding Ex president to arrest. Their objective is to eliminate all the good personalty from Pakistan, so that we cannot rise again we should be aware of their mission.
Shah Mar 24, 2013 06:36pm
We should appreciate Musharraf that he eliminate thug and criminal from Lall Masjid. Everybody is saying the he failed to check the weapons flow into the mosque but no one was saying why Masjid management try to bring weapon inside the mosque
Shah Mar 24, 2013 06:41pm
Mr Hasan, will you tell the nation how much you got paid for this statement
Ayesha Khan Mar 24, 2013 06:46pm
It is the organizations like HRW who do not wish to see Pakistan on the path of prosperity, their priorities are towards self gains. Are they blind, and cannot see that it was only because of Pervez Musharraf that feudal's like Akbar bugti met their due. These oppressors, and tyrants should have been eliminated much earlier. Moreover, on what grounds Mr Musharraf is being a target for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, there are many others whose odds are much higher to be the prime suspect. If Mr Musharraf took strict actions to combat terrorism, it was due on his agenda, as the President of Pakistan. It has been the trait of the politicians, and other corrupt organizations to launch false allegations, and charges against those who are focused on the betterment of our country. Pakistan could have achieved a lot, if Mr Musharraf was allowed to stay in power, but as usual there are hardly but few who are sincere to the country. The top hypocrites who knows nothing about politics, but are only interested to raise their bank balances. Mr Musharraf has no corrupt records on his career, and is one of the finest generals that Pakistan Army has produced. If there are no documented proofs against the charges, then they are null and void---
gangadin Mar 24, 2013 07:25pm
Musharraf's shelf life would be similar to that of Benazir's. What do you think? Just an opinion of the top of my head.
rana1 Mar 24, 2013 09:24pm
maybe he is being backed by the very same powers who put him in charge of pakistan before.The very same powers who are waging a proxy war in pakistan.
rana1 Mar 24, 2013 09:24pm
right on !
Rafiq Ahmed Mar 24, 2013 09:26pm
Who is HRW to meddle in Pakistan's internal affairs.
rana1 Mar 24, 2013 09:27pm
HRW .......where were you when USA ivaded Iraq and Afghanistan, and why can't HRW stop USA from further mischief.
Richard Headson Mar 24, 2013 09:36pm
Who is funding the HRW .. one of the perennially corrupt parties of the political establishment ? That's anyone's guess. Just curious why is the media kabal so much after Musharraf .. is this a funding issue? And can somebody please look into the finances of this Hasan hr imposter ...? And dawn ... seems like commercialism has tainted your journalistic integrity . Perhaps time to reconsider the direction of your journalistic aspirations .. sounding more like 'The News' skunks these days. Regards Richard Headson I
f Mar 24, 2013 10:34pm
there are biased reporters in every newspaper and dawn is no different but overall dawn is the most credible paper in Pakistan. And if a news is against your views it doesn't mean paper has lost its credibility
janaan Mar 24, 2013 11:44pm
looks like voices of BLA,BLF and Hamid Mir type traitors and not HRW
Saeed Mar 25, 2013 12:11am
Action against the gangster and extrotion was the best thing happened to karachi. Also same thing nawaz sharif did in interior Sind .These action really gave the sign of relief to hard working people and honest companies.I don't find single decent soul suffer due to these actions.
Ali321 Mar 25, 2013 01:24am
Pakistani's seem to have really weak memories. It is this same Musharraf who gifted us Zardari + Sharif in the form of NRO. He is the same man who was over-thrown by lawyers' movement. Pakistanis are smitten by army and its dictators.
Malick Mar 25, 2013 02:33am
Musharaf and Nwaz Sharif should be trailed on Kargil issue before election.
munaf Mar 25, 2013 04:09am
Must add Kargil as well because his adventurism against India in which Pakistani Army defeated and humiliated.
sidris Mar 25, 2013 04:39am
Why doesnt the HRW start of their campaign by indicting the current regime for: 1) its inhumane support of the drone attacks on our innocent civilians. 2) For the incompetance in dealing with the blatant massacre of our minorities. 3) For the dire condition of the common man. 4).................. . . 100)........ Then maybe they can think of moving on to Musharraf
Mustafa Razavi Mar 25, 2013 06:29am
Nations who do not pay for their armies pay for someone Else's army. Enemies of Pakistan army and our nuclear program are enemies of Pakistan, Short and simple.
Mustafa Razavi Mar 25, 2013 06:37am
These Mullahs were also seen at Takht-e-Lahore salivating on free Halwa during Tahir-ul-Qadri's long march.
Mustafa Razavi Mar 25, 2013 06:39am
The problem with your thesis is that court is above the law. Please understand the difference between the rule of law and rule of lawyers.
NM Mar 25, 2013 06:40am
No, people cannot see what these criminals of leaders have done to them. We every bit deserve a ruler like Zardari.
Ghafoor Rashid Mar 25, 2013 07:41am
HRW gives statements sitting in New York! How about you first come here and experience what we are experiencing everyday in our lives! Taking the story back 15 years will not change or hide the truth which we have experienced in these 5 years! What human rights are you guys talking about? Do you know the number of drone attacks, target killing, bomb blasts that have took place in these 5 years? Law and order situation comparison? Corruption new heights? Never issued any statement against this! Do you know the deficit our BOP is facing? The foreign reserves which we have? How many notes have been printed in these 5 years? Inflation been reported? If Musharraf had done all these then he should have faced the exile. Do you know the situation of Pakistan economy when Musharraf took over? After 2 - 3 years later where our economy was standing? Please stop talking about human rights. First get this country running then we will deal with you people sitting aboard. There are many questions asked, if you get the answers i believe you will change your view on recent 5 years and Musharraf's 10 years!
Fazle Mar 25, 2013 05:46pm
munaf wrote on March 25, 2013 9:09 am: Must add Kargil as well because his adventurism against India in which Pakistani Army defeated and humiliated." Not certain if you are saying that Musharraf was wrong in Kargil; if you are, please do some more research. You will find that Pakistan military and Musharraf were succeeding against India in the Kargil until Sharif compelled Musharraf to withdraw. Kargi is important not only because of Saichin Glacier (2nd largest outside Polar Region) and its melt water that flow to eventually join Indus and the 3 western rivers that are allocated to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty 1960; but also of strategic value because of its proximity to the Karakorum Highway connecting China and Pakistan.