Posts Tagged ‘ Pakistan Rangers ’

Pakistan Troops Caught on Film Shooting Unarmed Teenager Dead

By Barry Neild for The Guardian

Pakistan’s security forces are facing criticism after paramilitary troops were caught on camera apparently shooting dead a teenager at point-blank range.

The footage, broadcast repeatedly on local television, is likely to further undermine faith in the country’s powerful security establishment, which is already facing allegations it helped conceal Osama bin Laden.

The video, captured by a cameraman from Pakistan’s Awaz television channel, shows a youth, identified as Sarfaraz Shah, arguing with paramilitary rangers in Karachi. The 18-year-old appears to plead for mercy before being shot at close quarters. He then falls to the ground and screams in pain as blood pools beneath his legs.

Zohra Yusuf, head of Pakistan’s independent Human Rights Commission, condemned the killing as “another indication of law enforcement personnel becoming increasingly trigger happy.”

She said the violence depicted in the video was a trend seen across Pakistan that reflected the impunity of the country’s law enforcers.

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, said an inquiry would be launched and the culprits punished. Six members of the paramilitary Rangers, who are controlled by the interior ministry, have since been arrested.

Major general Aijaz Chaudhry, who commands the force, described the incident as “deplorable”. “The Rangers have no authority to kill any unarmed individual and they can fire only in self-defence,” he said. “On completion of the inquiry, all those found responsible will be given strict punishment.”

The incident is likely to further dent public faith in the government’s ability to control its security forces at a time when the US ally is facing questions about how bin Laden could have hidden for so long without the complicity of intelligence officials.

“What we saw on television shows that now there is the law of the jungle in this country and no one is accountable for his action or deeds. This is pathetic,” Mohammad Sultan, a retired soldier, told Reuters.

“What we are seeing is visual records of what we have long documented, which is the culture of impunity in the Pakistani law enforcement agencies,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, a researcher for Human Rights Watch. “What is becoming clear is that the free for all, the culture of wanton abuse and killing, is becoming untenable in the age of new media and cell phone cameras.”

In one media interview, a man identified as Salik Shah, the victim’s brother, said: “My brother was a victim of barbarism, brutality and aggression and everyone has seen it. The innocent young man was begging for his life regardless of whether he had done anything wrong. He was asking to be pardoned by the rangers; despite his repeated requests they did not listen to him, they did not arrest him, instead they were adamant about killing him and in the end they did.”

Hundreds of people showed up at Shah’s funeral a day after his death and denounced the Rangers. Some shouted “Rangers, murderers!” and others carried signs that said “Down with the Karachi Rangers.”

The video’s broadcast comes a few days after a prominent journalist was tortured to death after reporting claims about al-Qaida. Military intelligence officials have rejected claims they played a role in the killing.

Pakistan’s Daily Times newspaper said the military, paramilitary forces, police and intelligence agencies “who confidently violate human rights” should be held accountable for their actions.

“The security and law enforcement forces that do not respect the law themselves are inviting anarchy, which arguably is already under way,” it said in an editorial.

Last year, a video emerged of two teenage brothers being beaten to death before being strung up on a metal pole in broad daylight as police personnel looked on.

Two Die in Gunfire at India-Pakistan Border

By Augustine Anthony for Reuters

An exchange of fire at the Indian-Pakistan border near Pakistan’s Punjab province has killed two Indian troops and wounded a Pakistani soldier and several villagers, officials said Wednesday.

The neighbours have in the past exchanged almost daily fire across what is known as the Line of Control separating the two armies in Kashmir, but the latest incident occurred in the Sialkot sector of Pakistan which rarely experiences trouble.

A spokesman for the Pakistan Rangers said Indian border security forces fired automatic weapons and mortars at a village along the Sialkot working boundary, north of the Pakistani city of Lahore.

“First they fired yesterday morning and then again in the evening and the firing continued sporadically throughout the night until Wednesday morning,” said Nadeem Raza.

“One of our soldiers and several villagers have been wounded in the Indian firing.” A senior Indian border official confirmed the incident but said Indian forces retaliated for “unprovoked firing” from the Pakistani side.

“We were facing unprovoked firing from the Pakistani side for the last two days, resulting in the death of two of our men. We were forced to retaliate,” said K. Srinivasan. “The firing was precise, but at this stage we cannot say for sure who fired at us.”

The flare-up comes ahead of Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna’s trip to Pakistan next week to meet with his counterpart in a renewed bid to normalise ties.

Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours, who have fought three wars since 1947, were frozen when Pakistan-based militants attacked the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people.

A late 2003 cease-fire between the two sides across the cease-fire line in Kashmir has largely held although there have been several exchanges of fire over the past year. Raza said Pakistani forces returned fire after Indian forces “did not respond to the call for a flag-meeting” and continued firing.

The Director General of Pakistan Rangers in Punjab, Major General Yaqub Khan, said a protest had been lodged with Indian forces. “In future, a strong reply will be given by Rangers and loss of civilian lives and property will not be tolerated at any cost,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued after visiting the area.

This was the third violation of a cease-fire in that area in the last two weeks, according to the statement. India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants fighting Indian security forces in the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Pakistan supports what it calls a freedom struggle by the people of Kashmir against what it sees as the brutal and illegitimate Indian occupation of the region. But it denies arming the guerrillas, who have been fighting Indian forces since 1989.

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