COAS orders inquiry into footage showing execution of civilians
ISLAMABAD – Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Friday ordered inquiry into a video footage showing cold-blooded execution of civilians by personnel clad in Pakistan Army uniforms.
General Kayani has ordered setting up of a board of inquiry to be headed by a two star general to establish the true identity of uniformed personnel and the veracity of the video footage.
He will be assisted by two/three senior officers with the experience of investigating into such incidents. Necessary technical expertise will be made available to the board.
‘’It is not expected of a professional army to engage in excesses against the people whom it is trying to guard against the scourge of terrorism,’’ the COAS said, though he cautioned that militants had in the past posed as soldiers.
The two clips were apparently shot by cell phones and have been circulating on the Internet. The footage is grainy and shows no time stamps, and part of the army inquiry’s mission is to determine whether those shown in uniform were actually soldiers.
Well-placed sourced informed TheNation that either the Director General Military Operations (DGMO) or General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the suspected region would head the inquiry board.
Sources were of the view that since the said video footage is suspected to have link to the military operation in Swat and Malakand region, there was greater likelihood that GOC of that region might lead the inquiry board.
The SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based organisation that monitors militant websites, reported about two weeks ago that they had appeared on an extremist site.
The group said they were posted by someone who claimed the footage was from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, the scene of a major army offensive against Taliban militants in 2009.
However, informed sources told TheNation that Gen Kayani has ordered inquiry to clear Pakistan Army position ahead of the second round of US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue scheduled to be held in the USA during third week of this month. The COAS is expected to lead the dialogue.