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

Report says that Pakistan has failed to ban terrorist groups, courts release 3 out of 4 suspects.

Express August 31, 2011

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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