LFK launches dossier on extra-judicial execution of Zia Mustafa in IIOJK

Islamabad: Legal Forum for Kashmir launched a comprehensive dossier on Pakistani prisoner, Zia Mustafa’s extrajudicial execution in a staged encounter in Poonch district of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The dossier exposes the lies of Indian occupational forces on Zia’s involvement in militancy. As per the dossier, Zia Mustafa 15-year-old from Rawalakot AJK inadvertently crossed the LoC on January 13, 2003 and was arrested by the Indian forces. The family members of Zia Mustafa lodged a missing report before the concerned police station.

While the Indian army and police led by the then Director General IIOJK Police, A.K.Suri, in a joint press conference on 11 April 2003 projected and presented Zia as a foreign militant involved in so-called terror incident. However, the dossier reports that Zia was a minor when he crossed over the border unknowingly and was later falsely implicated in militancy by the Indian forces and agencies.

The LKF report further states the trial court in Shopian (IIOJK) framed charges against Zia under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and black laws. However, the state out of prosecution witnesses failed to produce a single piece of evidence against Zia. Accordingly, the court closed the prosecution evidence. The authorities in IIOJK filed a criminal appeal before the High Court Srinagar wing, which was meritless and accordingly dismissed by the court. The authorities again approached the Supreme Court of India and filed a criminal appeal with the condonation of delay application which is still pending.

Zia’s lawyer Mubashir Gattoo while talking to local media said, “Zia an under-trial for 17 years was facing a case before session’s court, but there was no evidence for his conviction”.

The dossier highlights the extra-judicial execution of an under-trial who was in a judicial custody when the joint counter-insurgent group including Indian army without following the mandate of law took Zia outside the jail and killed him in a staged encounter. It also revealed the important documents showing Zia a minor boy at the date of his arrest, moreover, the prisoners list exchanged by the foreign offices listed Zia an under-trial prisoner.

The dossier also highlights the 111 fake encounters and the perpetrators involved in these war crimes.

Meanwhile, LFK held a roundtable debate inviting law experts and key stakeholders on the ‘universal jurisdiction’ case submitted before the metropolitan war crime unit in the UK. The experts hailed the efforts of Stoke White Investigation unit for filing a suit against the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and other six Indian officials responsible for torture and extra-judicial killing of the duo.

Hakan Camus head of Stoke White hoped the request to British police seeking the arrest of Indian officials will be followed by other legal actions also focusing on Kashmir. We are sure this is not going to be the last one, there will probably be many more applications, he said.

Prof Dr Muhammad Mushtaq, former Director General Shariah Academy, eulogized the remarkable work of Stoke White and also pitched for constitution of war crime tribunal for the case of war crimes and crimes against humanity in IIOJK.

Towards the end, Executive Director Legal Forum for Kashmir, Nasir Qadri, said, this is the beginning of Lawfare against the occupier and his organization would further pursue the war crime cases to different available forums so that the perpetrators involved are apprehended for their crimes.

He further said that Kashmir has faced worst human carnage for the last 74 years and the international community can no longer be spectators to India’s atrocity crimes and impunity.

Noor Mukadam murder: Jail doctors declare Zahir Jaffer medically fit

A report issued by the doctors at Rawalpindi Central Jail Adiala declared Zahir Jaffer, primary accused in the Noor Mukadam murder case, medically “completely fit” on Thursday.

Additional Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani received the report at today’s hearing, where Zahir was brought by policemen on a stretcher.

The report stated that Zahir’s medical examination was conducted multiple times.

“The accused was also examined by a psychiatrist who declared that he is [mentally] fit,” the report added.

Junior lawyer Usman Riaz Gul, who had represented Zahir at the previous hearing in the absence of the accused’s counsel Advocate Sikandar Zulqarnain Saleem, had at the time requested court then to issue directives for the medical check-up of Zahir Jaffer, who was carried to the courtroom by policemen while sitting hunched over in a chair.

“The mental condition of the accused has worsened,” Gul had said, upon Zahir’s arrival.

Earlier, Akram Qureshi — counsel for Therapyworks owner Tahir Zahoor, a co-accused in the case — had informed the court that Zahir was not in a condition to be able to walk after the judge had taken notice of his absence.

Judge Rabbani had said at the time that he had written a letter to the jail authorities, directing them to get Zahir’s medical check-up done.

After he was brought to the courtroom on a stretcher from the bakhshi khana today, lawyer Sajjad Ahmed Bhatti — the counsel for gardener Jan Mohammad and gatekeeper Iftikhar, two of Zahir’s domestic staff indicted in the case — requested the judge to send Zahir back to the temporary lockup at the court.

“The accused’s condition is not good,” he said, praying the court to send him back to the bakhshi khana.

At that, Judge Rabbani explained that he did not want to summon the accused out of sympathy during the last hearing, but other lawyers had requested his presence in the courtroom.

He was referring to the previous hearing where Gul had drawn the judge’s attention to Zahir’s absence multiple times.

An application seeking the formation of a medical board to determine the state of Zahir’s mental health has already been dismissed by the court, which observed in its written order on the matter that the plea had been raised “just to get rid of criminal liability”.

The order, issued on January 6, stated that the plea was filed when the trial was nearing its end and the matter had not been raised before the court earlier.

“Facts and attending circumstances reveal that the accused is not suffering from mental illness [and] such afterthought plea has been raised just to get rid of criminal liability,” the order read.

At today’s hearing, Basharatullah Khan, the counsel for Zahir’s father and co-accused Zakir Jaffer, also conducted the cross-examination of investigating officer (IO) Abdul Sattar’s account of the case’s probe, which was recorded at the last hearing.

The court adjourned the hearing till January 24.

Case background

Noor, 27, was found murdered at a residence in the capital’s upscale Sector F-7/4 on July 20. A first information report (FIR) was registered the same day against Zahir — who was arrested from the site of the murder — under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on the complaint of the victim’s father, Shaukat Ali Mukadam, who is a retired Pakistani diplomat.

After the FIR was registered in the murder case, Zahir’s parents and household staff were arrested on July 24 over allegations of “hiding evidence and being complicit in the crime”. They were made a part of the investigation based on Noor’s father’s statement.

In his complaint, Shaukat had stated that he had gone to Rawalpindi on July 19 to buy a goat for Eidul Azha, while his wife had gone out to pick up clothes from her tailor. When he had returned home in the evening, the couple found their daughter Noor absent from their house in Islamabad.

They had found her cellphone number switched off and started a search for her. Sometime later, Noor had called her parents to inform them that she was traveling to Lahore with some friends and would return in a day or two, according to the FIR.

The complainant said he had later received a call from Zahir, whose family were their acquaintances. The suspect had informed Shaukat that Noor was not with him, the FIR said.

At around 10pm on July 20, the victim’s father had received a call from Kohsar police station, informing him that Noor had been murdered.

Police had subsequently taken the complainant to Zahir’s house in Sector F-7/4 where he discovered that his “daughter has been brutally murdered with a sharp-edged weapon and beheaded”, according to the FIR.

Shaukat, who identified his daughter’s body, has sought the maximum punishment under the law against Zahir for allegedly murdering his daughter.

Police later said that Zahir had confessed to killing Noor while his DNA test and fingerprints also showed his involvement in the murder.

Six officials of Therapy Works, whose employees had visited the site of the murder before police, were also nominated in the case and were indicted with six others, including Zahir Jaffer’s parents, in October.

‘Work on Dasu dam site back on track’

BEIJING: Chinese For­eign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian brushed away media reports that suggest the Chinese contractor has demobilized from the Dasu dam project site.

At his regular briefing at International Press Centre (IPC) on Thursday, Mr. Zhao said he was unaware of any preconditions put forward by the contractor for resuming work on the dam site.

“I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned. As far as I know, the Dasu hydropower project has resumed,” he said.

A terrorist attack on the dam site last July took the lives of 10 Chinese and four Pakistani nationals while injuring 28 others.

He said the China-Pakis­tan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was moving forward against a headwind posed by the pandemic.

He rejected the reports that indicate the work on CPEC, a pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), had slowed down over the past three and a half years.

Mr Zhao said CPEC followed the principles of joint consultation and contribution for shared benefits. “Rece­ntly, we have seen [the] president of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and some media’s positive comments on the progress made in the CPEC flagship project,” he said.

About the railway project, the spokesperson pointed out that it involved a huge investment and the authorities concerned were in consultation over it.

He said the claim that little has been achieved and no programme was approved over the past three and a half years under CPEC was “pure disinformation”.

T20 World Cup: Pakistan to face arch-rivals India on Oct 23 at Melbourne Cricket Ground

India and Pakistan will lock horns in a blockbuster T20 World Cup group clash for the second year running after the fixtures for the October-November 2022 tournament in Australia were announced on Friday.

The arch-rivals will lock horns at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on October 23, a day after Australia begins their title defense against New Zealand in Sydney — a repeat of 2021 final in Dubai where Aaron Finch’s team won their maiden crown.

The 16-nation tournament will begin on October 16 with Sri Lanka facing Namibia in Geelong — one of seven venues as Australia hosts for the first time.

“Our planning was ultra-detailed last time and knowing what the groups look like nine months out is really helpful because it can help your level of detail in that planning phase more and more,” Finch said.

“It’s a tough group though, and when you throw in qualifiers like the West Indies and Sri Lanka, you’ve got to play really well to get out of that group stage.”

The top two teams from both Group A and Group B in the preliminary first round will join the automatically qualified nations in the Super 12 stage.

England, New Zealand, Australia, and Afghanistan have been drawn together in Group 1. India, Pakistan, South Africa and Bangladesh are clubbed in Group 2.

The spotlight will be on the Group 2 India-Pakistan contest at the MCG, with the two in recent years only meeting in multi-nation events due to tensions over occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan recorded their first win over India in World Cups last year in Dubai when they hammered Virat Kohli’s team.

The Sydney Cricket Ground will host the first semi-final on November 9 while the second last-four clash will be held at the Adelaide Oval.

The final will be played at the MCG on November 13 under lights. The tournament will begin with a six-day preliminary stage of two four-team groups.

Sri Lanka and Namibia in Group A, and West Indies and Scotland in Group B will be joined by four qualifiers yet to be determined.

Australia had been due to host the T20 World Cup in 2020 but it was delayed two years because of the coronavirus pandemic with India retaining the 2021 edition — though that edition had to be shifted to Dubai because of Covid.

Not possible to unite Afghanistan under one govt, says Biden

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he withdrew his troops from Afghanistan because it’s not possible to unify the war-torn country under one single government.

At a White House news conference, Mr. Biden also said that the United States was “spending a billion dollars a week in Afghanistan for 20 years” and could not afford to do so indefinitely.

The Biden administration started pulling out troops from Afghanistan in August last year, leaving behind a vacuum, filled by the Taliban. Taliban troops entered Kabul on Aug 15 and replaced the US-backed government with their own. Since then Taliban have ignored the US appeals to include other political forces into the government and to protect the rights of Afghan women and religious minorities guaranteed in the US-backed Afghan constitution.

“Let’s take Afghanistan. I know you all would like to focus on that, which is legitimate,” said President Biden while responding to his government’s alleged incompetence.

“Raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify Afghanistan under one single government,” he said. “It’s been the graveyard of empires for a solid reason: It is not susceptible to unity.”

He said when he took over the government in January last year he had to decide whether to “continue spending that much money per week in the state of Afghanistan, knowing that the idea that being able to succeed — other than sending more body bags back home — is highly, highly unusual.” So, he decided to leave Afghanistan, he added.

However, opinion surveys conducted since the US withdrawal indicate that most Americans are unhappy with the decision. A recent survey showed that “two-thirds of all Americans and more than 7 in 10 veterans” were unhappy with the decision.

According to the Brookings Institution, there are about 775,000 Afghan war veterans in America, many with multiple tours of duty. “They are angry about the withdrawal, 73 percent feel betrayed, and 67 percent feel humiliated,” the Brookings added.

Reaching out to those upset with his decision, President Biden said that there was no way to get out of Afghanistan easily after 20 years. “Not possible no matter when you did it. And I make no apologies for what I did,” he added.

He said that even the US military would acknowledge that “had we stayed, … we would be asked to put somewhere between 20-and 50,000 more troops back in”.

Mr Biden reminded his critics that it was his predecessor Donald Trump who signed an agreement with the Taliban which required the United States to pull out its troops by May 15, 2021.