Pakistani military calls HRW report ‘a pack of lies,’ and ‘fabricated’

The Inter-Services Public Relations division (or ISPR) of the Pakistani military lashed out today against Human Rights Watch for its World Report for 2013, which accuses Pakistan’s military and intelligence services of supporting terrorist groups that conduct sectarian attacks. The ISPR’s press release practiced little “public relations,” calling the HRW report “a pack of lies,” “fabricated,” and other such terms. The ISPR statement is reproduced below, in full, for your amusement:

A spokesman of ISPR has termed the Human Rights Watch (HRW) recent report a pack of lies, propaganda driven and totally biased. He said it is yet another attempt to malign Pakistan and its institutions through fabricated and unverified reports, Completely favouring an anti Pakistan agenda. The HRW has based its opinion on imprecise facts and biased views.

The HRW report seems to be a clear attempt to further fuel already ongoing scectarian violence and to create chaos and disorder in Pakistan. HRW has no credibility and has been criticized world wide for raising controversies through its biased reports and funding from certain quarters and its reports have been rejected by many countries of the world.

Here are some excerpts from the HRW report [in italics] which very likely raised the ire of the Pakistani military establishment. HRW accused the Pakistani military and government of:

1) turning a blind eye to the Lashkar-e Jhangvi’s slaughter of Shia and other minorities (it does; Malik Ishaq, the group’s leader, was freed from prison in 2011 despite plotting attacks from jail);

Sunni militant groups, including those with known links to the Pakistani military, its intelligence agencies, and affiliated paramilitaries–such as the ostensibly banned Lashkar-e Jhangvi–operated with widespread impunity across Pakistan, as law enforcement officials effectively turned a blind eye to attacks.

2) persecuting Ahmadis, who have been blatantly discriminated against;

Members of the Ahmadi religious community continued to be a major target for blasphemy prosecutions and subjected to specific anti-Ahmadi laws across Pakistan. They faced increasing social discrimination as militant groups used provisions of the law to prevent Ahmadis from “posing as Muslims,” forced the demolition of Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, barred Ahmadis from using their mosques in Rawalpindi, and vandalized Ahmadi graves across Punjab province. In most instances, Punjab provincial officials supported militants’ demands instead of protecting Ahmadis and their mosques and graveyards.

3) assassinating and ‘disappearing’ Balochi rebels and sabotaging reconciliation efforts (while this isn’t a topic of LWJ‘s coverage, HRW’s characterization matches our observations);

The human rights crisis continued to worsen in the mineral-rich province of Balochistan. Human Rights Watch recorded continued enforced disappearances and killings of suspected Baloch militants and opposition activists by the military, intelligence agencies, and the paramilitary Frontier Corps. Baloch nationalists and other militant groups also stepped up attacks on non-Baloch civilians. Pakistan’s military continued to publicly resist government reconciliation efforts and attempts to locate ethnic Baloch who had been subject to “disappearances.” Pakistan’s government appeared powerless to rein in the military’s abuses. As a result, large numbers of Hazara community members sought asylum abroad.

4) subverting freedom of the press and targeting journalists (most notably, Syed Saleem Shahzad was assassinated by the Pakistani military in 2011 for reporting on the military and intelligence services’ links to terror groups, including al Qaeda);

A climate of fear impeded media coverage of the state security forces and militant groups. Journalists rarely reported on human rights abuses by the military in counterterrorism operations, and the Taliban and other armed groups regularly threatened media outlets over their coverage.

5) the “alleged persistent support for the Haqqani network.”

The US remained the largest donor of development and military aid to Pakistan, but relations remained abysmal through much of 2012. The US rejected apologizing for the “Salala Attack,” prompting Pakistan to ban the movement of NATO supplies to Afghanistan through Pakistan. The routes were only reopened in July after the US offered a formulation of regret that Pakistan found acceptable. Major areas of bilateral tension remained, particularly Pakistan’s alleged persistent support for the Haqqani network, a militant group that US officials accused of targeting US troops in Afghanistan. In September, the US declared the Haqqani network a terrorist body.

The Pakistani military might have been well advised to ignore the report rather than draw attention to it. The report actually was relatively soft on the Pakistani government and the military. No names were named, and few specific instances were mentioned. Nor did the report detail the complicity of the government and military in actively supporting terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, the plethora of Taliban factions in the tribal areas and beyond, and the Afghan Taliban.

If anything, the ISPR (read: military/ISI) response shows just who wears the pants in the relationship between the military and the Pakistani government. You’d expect the government to handle such issues, and to react with a bit more tact.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • mike merlo says:

    The Pakistani response sounds very similar to utterances of Musharraf made when he was confronted with intel from Afghanistan’s NDS identifying Mansehra Pakistan as a locale that bin Laden had been spotted in

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    This clearly shows Pakistan as a terrorist state, despite the report not mentioning the full details such as the ISI training islamic terrorists such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba and many others.
    However western countries won’t put Pakistan as a terrorist state, because they need Pakistan to talk to, when NATO leaves Afghanistan in 2004, to avoid more insecurity in the region.
    At the end of it, the west will only tolerate certain actions from Pakistan. If Pakistan goes overboard like the attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai by the Lashkar-e-Toiba, then the west generally slaps Pakistan on the face and force them to arrest the terrorist leaders, even though these terrorist leaders will get released quietly.

  • worldwatchman says:

    I have never been settled on the idea that this country view them as anything but our enemy. This government has continued to “buy” friendship which common sense tells you that it’s idiotic. islam is our worst enemy and their koran instructs them to lie and play nice while they loot you or, in this case as in many others; to kill you. My thinking is nuclear because then and only then will America and other free world countries will our enemies start to listen and pay attention. We have technology that just seems to sit on the shelf. Why bother to have it if we don’t use it. We wouldn’t even need a boot on the ground so, that would save our sons and daughters lives, no more of the multiple deployments which would result in less cases of PTSD which soldiers carry into civilian life which can lead to suicide and murder such as what happened to the Texas Navy SEAL sniper and his associate. Use the technology and bring our soldiers out of these countries. islamic terrorist don’t view life as most humans do so, use the nuclear and see if they have a change of heart.

  • Zulfi says:

    I believe hrw has prepared the report with full honesty. Although I would not like to see such remarks about my country but unfortunately it is all true

  • Keith says:

    Playing devil’s advocate, I really don’t know about the legitimacy of HRW, their tactics and methodologies; however, I do know that Amnesty International has totally lost it and will stretch the truth or outright lie if it forwards their political agendas.
    And those agendas are not just about human rights but about a whole grab bag of liberal causes.


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