Tag Archives: law enforcement

Open Letter From Concerned Pakistani-Americans On Anti-Shia Violence

The following is an open letter received from Pakistani-Americans expressing condemnation of the ongoing threat to Pakistan’s Shia community from militant groups including Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and calling for “a concerted, nationwide campaign to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those responsible for anti-Shia violence.” While Americans for Democracy & Justice in Pakistan supports the rights of all religious communities to live in peace and security, the letter reflects a personal statement by the signatories and is made available here for informational purposes only.  For more information or to be added as a signatory, please email warishusaindawn@gmail.com.

To Whom It May Concern:

We would like to express our strong condemnation of the brutal killing of over eighty innocent civilians in the January 10, 2013 terrorist attacks in Quetta, Pakistan, conducted by the Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) organization. We call on the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of these and other terrorist attacks against Pakistan’s Shia Muslims.

The attacks this Friday are the latest in what is a persistent and murderous campaign against Shia Muslims across Pakistan waged by the LeJ and its partners. Approximately 400 Shia Muslims were killed by the LeJ and its allies in 2012, according to Human Rights Watch. The anti-Shia violence in Pakistan has not been restricted to a single ethnic group or region. In recent years, it has included:

  • the siege and killings of Shia Muslims in the Kurram Agency;

  • the targeted killings of Shia Muslim professionals in Karachi as well as Hazara and non-Hazara Shia Muslims in Quetta;

  • the mass murder of Shia Muslim pilgrims in Balochistan and Gilgit; and

  • large terrorist attacks against Shia Muslim processions in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Rawalpindi.

According to international conventions and customary international law, these constitute genocidal acts perpetrated by terrorist groups like the LeJ.

With Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s visit to Quetta and the imposition of governor’s rule in Balochistan, there are indications that the Government of Pakistan (GoP) is attempting to take action to protect the area’s Shia Muslim community. But an all-of-government and all-of-Pakistan approach is necessary to stem the tide of anti-Shia violence, which has hit every corner of the country.

A concerted, nationwide campaign to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those responsible for anti-Shia violence is necessary. Such a campaign must be conducted under civilian command by the GoP, provincial governments in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh, and authorities in Gilgit-Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, with the full support of the army, intelligence agencies, judiciary, and police. It must coincide with a broader effort to improve the prosecution of alleged terrorists, including the institution of witness protection programs.

Inaction by the federal and provincial governments and other arms of the state has enabled the LeJ threat to metastasize. The GoP must reverse course and fulfill its responsibility to protect its citizenry. Similarly, Pakistani journalists, military officials, politicians, religious leaders who have either supported anti-Shia organizations or have shied away from explicitly condemning them, must recognize the collective costs of complicity or silence and reverse course.

We are encouraged by the peaceful sit-ins that have taken place in cities such as Quetta, Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore, where thousands of Pakistanis have braved the cold to protest against the murderous campaign against Shia Muslims. We are heartened to see support from a broad segment of Pakistanis, transcending ethnic, regional, and religious boundaries. And we hope that the civic unity displayed by Pakistan’s Shia and Sunni Muslims, Christians, and others serves as permanent bridges that lead to a more peaceful and progressive Pakistan.

But a strong civil society cannot make up for weak government resolve in combating the rising tide of terror. The GoP must take decisive action to stop the genocidal campaign against Pakistan’s Shia Muslims. The LeJ, which has allied with al-Qaeda and the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan, is not only an existential threat to the country’s Shia Muslims, but to all Pakistanis.

 We close with the words of German pastor Martin Niemöller, who warned of his countrymen’s indifference to the Nazi threat:

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.”

 

Sincerely,

 

Concerned Pakistani Americans

 

Waris Husain, Writer/ Attorney

Manzur Ejaz, Writer/Economist

Mohammad Taqi, Writer/Academic Physician

Arif Rafiq, Adjunct Scholar, Middle East Institute

Omar Ali, MD, Writer/Academic Physician

Beena Sawar, Journalist/Documentary Filmmaker

Ayaz Muhammad Khan, Virginia

Zaid Jlani, Journalist/Activist

Raakin Iqbal, Architect/Producer

Remarks by Asst. Sec. Brownfield at Wreath Laying Ceremony for Pakistan Police Martyrs

The following remarks were given by Assistant Secretary William Brownfield at a wreath  laying ceremony at the Pakistan National Police Martyr’s Memorial on July 4, 2011.

Asst. Sec. Brownfield at the Pakistan Police Martyrs MemorialInspector General, senior officers, officers and men of the Islamabad Police and all representatives of Pakistan’s law enforcement, I thank you very much for the honor of joining you today, particularly this day, the 235th anniversary of the independence of the country I represent, the United States of America. You do me high honor in allowing me to share it with you.

Inspector General, since the dawn of history, all societies, peoples and countries have had two professions of arms: one to protect our communities from the threats from outside and the second to protect our communities from the threats from inside. And while I, the grandson, son and brother of Army officers have enormous respect for the military, it is now and always has been the police that protect our communities day after day. They patrol our streets and protect our homes, they rescue our children and confront the criminals, they solve crimes, and they bring justice to our communities. Whether it’s Islamabad or Washington, Lahore or New York, Karachi or Los Angeles, they are the bedrock of our communities.

Ladies and gentlemen, from time to time, far too often, they pay the ultimate price, they make the ultimate sacrifice. Inspector General, about one month ago, specifically on the seventh of June, I participated in an annual ceremony at the U.S. Law Enforcement Memorial in the city of Washington, where all American police, federal, state and local police met to honor those who fell that year. We added nearly 40 names to the memorial. We are here today at Pakistan’s memorial where 500 names are already inscribed and 1,400 more will soon be inscribed. We say about each of those names that when others fled, they stood; when others cowered, they protected their communities; while others lived in cowardice, they died in honor. To them, to their families, I offer thanks, I offer respect, and I offer the highest honors.

If I might close on this 4th of July, quoting the words of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who said in Gettysburg in 1863, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.” Members of the Pakistani Law Enforcement Community, I thank you, I honor you, and I respect you. Thank you very much.

Law, Order, and Democracy in Pakistan

Pakistan police badgeWhere the Pakistani Taliban have won sympathy, it has come largely as a result of the group’s promise to provide some semblance of law and order in areas that lacked what was popularly considered a fair and neutral arbiter of legal disputes. The Taliban’s form of “justice” might be harsh – even medieval – but it may be seen as a better alternative than banditry and corruption. This means that the key to undermining local sympathies with the Taliban may lie in strengthening the local law enforcement infrastructure so that the state is popularly viewed as the legitimate source of local law and order.

Two stories this week emphasize conclusions reached by a new report published by the United States Institute of Peace this week on the importance of reforming Pakistan’s police and law enforcement infrastructure.

The first story relates to a new US government report that suggests  aid to Pakistan is not meeting its goals.

The report, which was released by the Inspectors General for the U.S. State Department, Defense Department and Agency for International Development (USAID), cites a number of reasons why the aid has proved ineffective. It says problems with staffing the programs, a hostile security environment and – in one case – fraud, have led to programs not being implemented.

The second story is this morning’s suicide bombing in Punjab, the latest in a series of attacks on police and security forces.

Militants have recently stepped up attacks across the country’s north western cites, mainly targeting police force, after a period of relative calm. Four police stations were attacked in Peshawar in a week. Bullet-riddled bodies of two tribal police officials and a villager were found on Thursday near Mir Ali town of North Waziristan with a note that they were American spies. The three men were kidnapped in January and their bodies showed signs of torture, officials said.

The Taliban have learned that their most effective approach to power is to undermine the state’s authority by creating chaos and then offering to step in and provide security and some form of neutral justice. As such, they operate as any other extortion racket, but with a goal of gaining a monopoly on police power and therefore superseding the authority of the state.

Meanwhile, the US is pumping billions of dollars in civilian aid into Pakistan, but is not able to achieve desired outcomes in large part due to a lack of law and order that prevents proper and timely delivery of aid resources and project implementation.

Against this backdrop, Dr. Hassan Abbas, Quaid-i-Azam Professer with the South Asia Institute, Columbia University, released his latest report, Reforming Pakistan‘s Police and Law Enforcement Infrastructure in which Dr. Abbas makes two important points related to this context:

1. Police effectiveness is inextricably linked with legitimacy of the state. At present, there is a systematic effort on part of extremist groups to target police & law enforcement because they have learned that most effective way to expand their own networks is to undermine the writ of the state.

2. US aid objectives cannot be achieved so long as law and order is not prioritized. There are serious issues of focus in US aid priorities – namely, a lack of resources and training for local civilian law enforcement.

Dr. Abbas makes very clear that civilian police are not military force multipliers, village defense forces, or lashkars (militias). Pakistan has an effective and capable military which can clear militant groups from an area. What it lacks is a well-organized, well-resourced civilian law enforcement system that can build trust and provide an ongoing sense of order among the local population.

US military aid is necessary, but not sufficient to countering the spread of extremist influence. As Dr. Abbas explained yesterday,

“Foreign donors should avoid framing everything in the context of counterterrorism, as Pakistani public opinion is likely to be more appreciative of international help in this arena if it is focused on enhancing the crime-fighting capacity of police.”

During a discussion on Pakistan’s future last week, Christine Fair pointed to a 2009 poll that showed that, when asked what people meant when they said they supported Sharia, most people answered “good governance.” Later in the program, Shuja Nawaz noted that good governance is key to countering the spread of militancy. The missing piece of the puzzle of good governance in Pakistan is effective and efficient civilian law enforcement.

If significant progress in Pakistan can be achieved by something as simple as increasing the pay of Pakistan’s civilian police, can the US afford not to do so? As the US examines outcomes from US aid investment in Pakistan, it should consider the findings of Dr. Abbas and the need for reforming Pakistan’s police and law enforcement infrastructure.