A new U.S. report calls the Pakistani legal system “almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists,” claiming that the acquittal rate stands at about 75 percent in such trials.
The US State Department has come out strongly against Pakistan for not taking credible actions on the terror front including acting on US designated groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. It may be noted that LeT operations chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and communications head Zarar Shah are among those facing trial in Pakistan’s anti-terror courts for masterminding the Mumbai attack.
A 2010 review by the United States of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court rulings revealed that Pakistan remained plagued an acquittal rate of approximately 75 percent,” the paper quotes a U.S. State Department statement as saying. “The review, in conjunction with information provided by Pakistani law enforcement partners, painted a picture of a legal system almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists.”
The review determined that the accused in numerous high-profile terrorism incidents involving US victims had all been acquitted by the Pakistani so called independent judiciary.
Moreover, the report has for the first time expressed grave concerns over Pakistan for not acting against terror financing and, particularly, in the context of terror groups like LeT and JeM. US authorities have also confirmed that the terrorists organizations fully operational despite the ban.
“Another significant concern was Pakistan’s weak implementation of UNSCR 1267. UN-designated terrorist organizations were able to skirt sanctions simply by reconstituting themselves under different names. They made little effort to hide their connections to the old groups and gained access to the financial system using new names.”
A self-confessed killer Malik Ishaq, chief of the banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), who had been arrested in 1997 for involvement in sectarian murders — almost all of his victims were members of the minority Shia community in Pakistan. He was charged with murder of 70 people in 44 different cases and that had kidnapped and murdered US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 , but escaped conviction in each case due to lack of evidence and walked free from after being granted bail by the Pakistan Supreme Court.
Due to an inherent incapacity to function in democratic dispensation, right wing tendencies and security establishment sponsored Taliban friendly approach of our so called independent judiciary there are too many terrorist leaders from Malik Ishaq to Hafiz Saeed roaming free on Pakistan’s streets.
The Times of India reports:
Asserting that anti-terrorism courts of Pakistan had an acquittal rate of 75%, the US has said that Islamabad’s legal system is almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists, including those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
“The review, in conjunction with information provided by Pakistani law enforcement partners, painted a picture of a legal system almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists,” said the report.
As such, the US does not appear to be have high hopes in the court case related to the Mumbai terrorist attack, which it is closely monitoring as six Americans were killed in this terrorist attack by Pakistan-based LeT terrorists. It determined that “the accused in numerous high-profile terrorism incidents involving US victims had all been acquitted by the Pakistani legal system” .
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation has assisted with the respective prosecutions,” the report said. Noting that Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Bill 2010 remained before parliament, the report said it proposes 25 amendments to Pakistan’s original Anti-Terrorism Act.
The amendments included provisions that broaden the definition of terrorism, expand the authority of law enforcement agencies investigating terrorist incidents, authorize detention of subjects for 90 days before presenting them before a court, and allow increased electronic surveillance and wiretapping.