Pakistani courts let 3 out of every 4 terror suspects go: US State Dept

Published: September 1, 2011

Report says that Pakistan has failed to ban terrorist groups, courts release 3 out of 4 suspects. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

Report says that Pakistan has failed to ban terrorist groups, courts release 3 out of 4 suspects. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE Report says legal system fails to bring terrorists to justice. Police investigation methods need to improve. PHOTO: FILE/ABID NAWAZ/ EXPRESS

LONDON: A US State Department report published last week said that Pakistan was incapable of prosecuting terror suspects, since three in four defendants are acquitted.

According to a report in The Telegraph, the US State Department’s 2010 report criticized its frontline ally in the war on terror saying it had had failed to outlaw militant Islamic terror groups, since they escaped bans by changing names.

It said that while Pakistan maintained it was committed to prosecuting those accused of terrorism, its Anti-Terrorism Court’s (ATC) rulings last year tell a different story showing that Pakistan’s acquittal rate of prosecuting suspected terrorists was approximately 75%.

The report further said that Islamabad had not closed loopholes which allowed terrorist groups and criminals to launder money (hawala), also mentioning former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s unresolved case as an example of how the investigative methods had to improve to collect better evidence, since the post assassination footage clearly showed that the crime scene in Rawalpindi was hosed down before evidence collection.

The report complains that Pakistan’s ‘weak implementation’ of a UN Security Council resolution which lists banned terrorist organisations remained a concern.

Wikileaks cables released earlier also showed that many of the more than 1,000 recently released US embassy cables relating to Pakistan speak of Pakistan’s battle against religious extremism and militancy, and the inability to being suspects to justice.

While some of the cables show concern on the trends observed by US diplomats, others simply relay what was being reported in the Pakistani media without comment.

In recent years, courts have yet to issue a verdict on a terrorism case or have released many terror suspects for lack of evidence, including the controversial Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s Ameer Prof Hafiz Muhammed Saeed.

The report comes amid deteriorating relations between the two countries and continuing anger in India at the slow progress in Pakistan’s prosecution of a number of alleged terrorist leaders charged with plotting the 2008 Mumbai massacre. Six Americans were among the 166 victims.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Cautious
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:04AM

    So much for Pakistan’s commitment against terrorism.

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  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:07AM

    It is easy for our judges to blame police, intelligence agencies or prosecution for problems with the conviction of terror suspects. They have problems with accepting sophisticated forensic and technical evidence for prosecuting terrorists (just because such evidence is typically put together by intelligence agencies and our judges don’t trust them). Common people are too afraid to come forward and testify against terrorists in courts for obvious reasons. Our judges usually don’t accept the testimonies of police and intelligence personnel in the prosecution of terrorists. Judges also typically ignore all circumstancial evidence in cases involving terrorism. (Just look at the case of Anjum Aqeel, who is absolved of the case of breaking the jail and fleeing from police custody just because of “lack of evidence” when the whole of Pakistan watched everything live on their TV sets). Or just look at the case of Malik Ishaq who is the alleged killer of about 70 innocent people in sectarian violence and there is no shortage of authentic eye-witnesses and circumstantial evidence against him. But our worthy courts let him out on bail (may be, for killing more innocents). Now tell me how could we effectively prosecute terrorists?

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  • Babs
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:10AM

    And this is news because? Oh right, goes to show on official paper what bungling idiots Americans are …

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  • Anwar
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:18AM

    Even the fourth terror suspect is let go….through the back door. The US State department does not know about it.

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  • Izhar ul Haq
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:18AM

    An old report of state department is hardly relevant when SC is handling inquiry in Karachi killings – such strange times, we are living in !

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  • Arindom
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:34AM

    Whats so surprising in this – they are after all, strategic assets!

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  • Mirza
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:35AM

    Eid present to Pakistani establishment! They can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. Time to bring about some positive steps. The independent judiciary is too busy in political appointments and not convicting the terrorists.

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  • architect
    Sep 1, 2011 - 2:36AM

    oooh yeah! we released Ramond Davis too

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  • Chaudhry Allah Daad
    Sep 1, 2011 - 3:00AM

    Raymond Davis did the job of courts. We need more like him.

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  • QB
    Sep 1, 2011 - 3:07AM

    I think its not the courts fault. Its poor investigation and lack of proof provided by the investigating agencies. Many times they probably just round up innocent civilians so that Mr. Rehman Malik cand come on TV to state that so many suspects have been arrested.

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  • realize
    Sep 1, 2011 - 3:59AM

    This is the sum total of the credibility and performance of the “independent judiciary”.Recommend

  • Sep 1, 2011 - 4:06AM

    Thats what Zaid Hamid has been saying all along…setup martial courts and try the terrorists and court martial them

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  • sam
    Sep 1, 2011 - 4:49AM

    i think its courts faults too … anyone remember Qadiri, who killed a high profile governor and hasnt been punished yet ? …. isnt it a sad newRecommend

  • Freeman
    Sep 1, 2011 - 5:22AM

    @Arindom: Indian Tipical Mindset.

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  • Krishna
    Sep 1, 2011 - 8:52AM

    What about the Gitmo detainees? US is letting go most of them without any charges.

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  • Imran
    Sep 1, 2011 - 10:30AM

    This is sum total of the performance and credibility of the “Independent Judiciary”!

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  • Ranjit
    Sep 1, 2011 - 11:11AM

    I thought the number was 99 out of 100 were let go free and only one in custody was the one who was “kapda sambhal-ing”.

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  • Rational Mind
    Sep 1, 2011 - 11:12AM

    US Should set an example by prosecuting war criminals like George Bush and cronies for Iraq war and I am sure then Pakistan will follow…

    Can US also present the evidence in Pakistani Courts that these individuals have been conspiring for Terrorism in USA (Poor people can not defend themselves and their families against drones but are planning to attack USA…..LOL)

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  • sajid
    Sep 1, 2011 - 11:36AM

    america should produce similar report about there own country.if i am not wrong america has the biggest crime rate in the world.

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  • TightDhoti
    Sep 1, 2011 - 11:58AM

    @Sajid: Yes you are wrong. They are several reports about individual US cities, states and the country as a whole. Look it up. Or you can believe that America publishes these reports just to malign and defame Pakistan.Recommend

  • woohoo
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:15PM

    My only question is, why isn’t the fourth guy let go?

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  • N
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:21PM

    Our system works! 25% are prosecuted. Those indulging in acts of violence inside Pakistan are Indians and US agents – easy to prosecute – that is the good news!

    Others – the 75%, are freedom fighters – plenty durable and always evergreen. They are always freeing us from Indians, US, each other and, mostly the innocent us. They are never tried – that is better than the good news above!

    With so much good news on this auspicious occasion, onwards we charged.
    Glory to the left of us, glory to the right of us,
    Generals to the side of us and judges behind us
    into the valley of strategic depth we charged.

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  • A.Rehman
    Sep 1, 2011 - 1:55PM

    Yeah, this is the difference between Pakistan & US. Our courts release the terrorists including the Raymond Davis. But, US courts punish/sentence the innocents, like nation’s daughter, Dr. Aafia Siddiqi.

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  • Javed
    Sep 1, 2011 - 2:18PM

    @N:
    These 75% Freedom fighters are not only freeing innocent people from Indians and Americans but have managed to free 35000 innocent Pakistanis of their life as well. We will keep on denying and they will keep on killing us. And why shouldn’t they! They know will we never blame them for all the bloodshed and if by mistake they are arrested the courts will set them free to continue their carnage. Remember the judges have the same feeling about these terrorist as the majority of us…. delusional.

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  • R A
    Sep 1, 2011 - 4:06PM

    I am sure the U.S state dept. is wrong
    True figure is nearly four out of four.
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  • Sane
    Sep 1, 2011 - 4:15PM

    @A. Rehman: I wish they would put your comment on topRecommend

  • Chaudhry Allah Daad
    Sep 1, 2011 - 4:18PM

    Those who are kept in prison are better off than outside. Qadri is having a great life in jail.

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  • Jahangir Ahmad
    Sep 1, 2011 - 6:05PM

    Raimond Davis is also a benefeciory of Pakistani courts.

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  • Menon
    Sep 1, 2011 - 6:22PM

    @A.Rehman:

    If Afia was nations daughter, she should have stayed in Pakistan and kept Pakistani citizenship instead of giving up Pakistani Citizenship and becoming a US Citizen.

    We have Green Card waiting for you, do you want to come?

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  • Javed
    Sep 1, 2011 - 10:03PM

    @Jahangir Ahmad:
    He is a beneficiary of the Islamic law. Scores use the same law daily in Pakistan to get away from prision so why not him. Strangely no one investigated what really happened and why were the two guys shot & what was the motive. Everything was burried under rhetoric and Anti-Americanism,

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  • FAZ
    Sep 1, 2011 - 10:22PM

    Thanks to our police the non-terror related crime suspects also escape from the courts!! But Raymond case was an exception!! And US-gov has totally forgotten that!!
    US-gov twisting the fact that it is the weakness of our criminal investigation and prosecution and not our will to fight terror!!. By the way, the biggest criminal for the US should be Mr. Bush and co. They started a war based on a manipulated intelligence report. Why the hell US not prosecuting them???

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  • sajid
    Sep 1, 2011 - 11:30PM

    @TightDhoti: no one is child here.every one knows americas evil.this is america failed effort.
    there are two ways depand which person choose.america calls them terrorits but wait we dont call them terrorists.terrorists are india,america and israel.if this repot is true then it is vary good.

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  • Sep 2, 2011 - 12:31AM

    They, could be right,our court shouldn’t have let free the American terrorist/spy and killer of three innocent civilian Pakistanis,Raymond Davis.They should have followed the US,example and convict innocent people on cooked and trumped up charge’s such as in the case of Dr.Aafia Siddiqui …Also kidnap and detain illegally suspects inhuman condition in detention centers like GITMO etc.:)…I wonder some don’t smell themselves first before catching their nose for smells coming from any other corner?.

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  • Arindom
    Sep 2, 2011 - 10:57AM

    @Freeman:
    correct mindset though – also same as the global mindset!

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  • Tony C.
    Sep 2, 2011 - 1:56PM

    I regard to the U.S. crime rate I am reasonably certain that Sajid got it right. Where did Tight get his statistics from?

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  • Zaka
    Sep 2, 2011 - 2:21PM

    Our courts have many other issues as their priority. For example, stopping Pervez Musharraf from taking part in politics on behest of Sharifs is their first priority.

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  • A.Rehman
    Sep 2, 2011 - 8:33PM

    @-Menon, No, thanks for your offer of Green-Card, I am happy with my Green-Passport. Having changed the citizenship doesn’t make one to support for the wrong or injustice actions, irrespective of color, caste & religion. I have many American friends (white ones) who also do not support the wrong policies of US. Current America does’not belong to the America of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln & the great Benjamin Franklin, whose intellect, philosphy, & doctrine helped America to become the Super Power.

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  • Shahid
    Sep 2, 2011 - 9:16PM

    100% agreed. But these are stretegic assets for establishment, is SC also part of that establishment or they are afraid of their own as well as family members life.Recommend

  • Ali
    Sep 3, 2011 - 12:29AM

    “Pakistani courts let 3 out of every 4 terror suspects go”

    Er…what if this means we are over-enthusiastic about arresting them in the first place?
    Just saying.

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