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Reuters, April 17, 2002 02:00 AM ET
Pakistan Says Its Diplomat Was Tortured in India

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - Islamabad accused India on Wednesday of detaining and torturing a Pakistani diplomat in New Delhi with electric shocks.

A Foreign Ministry statement alleged that diplomat Ali Abbass was "abducted, illegally detained and tortured," by at least a dozen Indian intelligence agents.

"He was severely beaten up and taken to an undisclosed location where he was subjected to severe torture including electric shocks," the statement said.

"As a result of the torture inflicted on Ali Abbass, he has been passing blood in his urine."

The statement said Pakistan had lodged a strong protest with the Indian government over what it called the "cowardly and provocative action."

Pakistan and India, which have fought three wars since independence in 1947, frequently expel each other's diplomats on charges of spying.

The two countries, which have fought two of those wars over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, are locked in a tense stand off with more than a million troops facing each other across the border.

New Delhi says it will not withdraw its forces unless Islamabad stops arming and training militants sent into Indian-ruled Kashmir, where a rebellion has been underway for 12 year.

Pakistan says it gives only moral and diplomatic support to guerrillas in India's only-Muslim majority state.


The News International, Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Pakistan condemns India for torturing diplomat

ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan on Tuesday strongly condemned the abduction, illegal detention and torture of Ali Abbas, an official of the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi, by the operatives of the Indian intelligence.

A Foreign Office spokesman said at around 1130 hours on Tuesday Ali Abbas was abducted by at least 12 Indian intelligence operatives. "He was severely beaten up and taken to an undisclosed location, where he was subjected to severe torture including electric shocks. As a result of the torture inflicted on Ali Abbas, he has been passing blood in his urine."

The spokesman said the government of Pakistan has lodged a strong protest with the Indian government over the cowardly, despicable and provocative action by Indian intelligence operatives. "The Indian government has been told that there is a limit to acts of violence against officials of Pakistan's High Commission in New Delhi."

He said these attacks are in flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention of 1961 on diplomatic relations, as well as the bilateral code of conduct signed between the two countries in August 1992.


The News International, Thursday, April 18, 2002
Pakistan condemns Indian move

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday strongly condemned India's decision to seek withdrawal of a staff member of Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on trumped up charges. It termed Indian allegations are a shoddy attempt to cover up inhuman and uncivilised behaviour of its intelligence agencies.

"Pakistan strongly condemns the government of India's decision to seek withdrawal from India of Ali Abbas, a staff member of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, on trumped up charges," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

The Indian decision follows the abduction, illegal detention and brutal torture of Ali Abbas on Tuesday, by the Indian intelligence operatives. In a statement here, he said, Pakistan categorically rejects the Indian allegations about the involvement of Ali Abbas in activities incompatible with his official status. "The Indian allegations are a shoddy attempt to cover up the uncivilised, inhuman and provocative behaviour of the Indian intelligence agencies," he added.

However, in New Delhi, India denied allegations it detained and tortured a Pakistani diplomat with electric shocks, saying he had been treated in line with the law. "There's no truth, absolutely no truth in the allegation that there was torture of this individual," External Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao told reporters.

Rao said the diplomat was handed over to the Pakistan High Commission after he was questioned by Indian authorities and 'there was absolutely no maltreatment'."He has been treated fully in conformity with the law and there has been absolutely no transgression of the rules and conventions in this regard," she said.

Meanwhile, the FO spokesman in Islamabad also commented on the statement of the Indian External Ministry on the 15th of this month regarding Pakistan's reaction to Vajpayee's remarks on April 12 this year.

It said Vajpayee's anti-Muslims remarks is "self-serving, hypocritical and evades the issues of the treatment of minorities in India." In a statement the spokesman said that "there can be no denying the fact that Vajpayee is a self-admitted life long member of the reactionary and fascist RSS. "If Mr Vajpayee has now renounced his membership of the RSS, we would appreciate hearing him say so," he added.

The spokesman said " it is doubly unfortunate that a fascist agenda is being pursued under the cover of democracy." He pointed out that Pakistan is determined to fight extremism and had banned a number of extremist organizations. "We hope that the Indian government will also have the courage to similarly ban Hindu extremist groups like RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena," he added.


The News International, Thursday, April 25, 2002
Pak HC staffer tells tale of Indian torture

ISLAMABAD: Ali Abbas, a staffer of Pakistan's High Commission in New Delhi, who was expelled by India on trumped-up charges, returned here on Wednesday.

Abbas, when arrived at the Islamabad international airport could hardly walk. He was abducted by the sleuths of Indian intelligence agencies on April 16 and was severely beaten up. As a result of torture inflicted upon him, he had been passing blood in urine.

Pakistan had already rejected Indian allegations against Abbas as "shoddy attempt to cover up inhuman and uncivilised behaviour of its intelligence agencies." Narrating his horrific tale to newsmen, Abbas was visibly shaken and bitter about the way the Geneva Conventions were blatantly violated so often by the Indians with regard to treatment of the diplomats and diplomatic staff.

Abbas, an assistant at the Pakistan's High Commission in New Delhi, said on April 16 he had gone to Saddar area the Indian capital for shopping. "Suddenly, a few people got hold of me and, as I did not have any idea what was happening, I tried to resist them." He added they eventually grabbed him and whisked away in a vehicle to some unknown place where some 10 to 12 persons severely tortured him.

"I was forced to make a statement about my involvement in some kind of activities, not compatible to my duties," Abbas said, while telling about the way be was subjected to intensive torture. Abbas said he was pulled on the ground and dragged by two men with his legs apart. "I was beaten at the groin and lower abdomen by a number of persons," he added.

The Indian External Affairs Ministry spokeswoman, Nirupama Rao, claimed the other day that "there's no truth, absolutely no truth in the allegations that there was torture of this (Ali Abbas) individual". However, the medical report of a New Delhi-based hospital, where Abbas was taken immediately after he was assaulted, said that he received severe thrashing.

According to the report of the "Dr Ved Parakash Kohli Medical Centre, the patient passed "blood-stained" urine. He had a "blood clot" in eyes and was running fever. The medical report confirmed that "there was lot of tenderness (around) lower abdomen, back.... he had a lot of tenderness near the testicles."

Abbas said: "Indians have a long history of harassing Pakistani diplomats and other diplomatic staff. This is totally against the Geneva Conventions and bilateral agreements signed between the two countries."

He said: "It has now become a matter of routine that one or two staff members of the Pakistani High Commission are picked up by their intelligence operatives and after severe torture, he is expelled." This was being done by India to detract world attention from its internal problem and the treatment meted out to its Muslim population, he said while referring to the Gujrat violence. "This (Gujrat violence) has exposed the fundamentalist and extremist posture of the Indian government."

Abbas said diplomatic staff in India was facing a very difficult situation as they did not have any protection. "They are afraid to go out, fearing they might be implicated in false cases and torture," he added.

Pakistan had strongly condemned the abduction, illegal detention and torture of Ali Abbas and lodged a strong protest with the Indian government over the "cowardly, despicable and provocative action" by Indian intelligence operatives.


The Hindu, Sunday, May 19, 2002
We are for restraint: Pak.

By B. Muralidhar Reddy

ISLAMABAD May 18. Pakistan today struck a non-combatant and conciliatory response to the decision of the Indian government asking its High Commissioner in New Delhi, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, to leave his post `for the sake of parity'.

While registering its disappointment over the announcement made by the External Affairs Minister, Jaswant Singh, a spokesman of the Pakistan Foreign Office, in a statement, said Islamabad would continue to ``work for the de-escalation of tensions'' with India. He said the country would continue to strive for ``complete normalisation of diplomatic relations''. The spokesman said that in response to the action announced by New Delhi, the Pakistan Government has decided to `recall' the High Commissioner.

Talking to correspondents the Foreign Office spokesman, Aziz Ahmed Khan, claimed that `restraint and conciliation' characterised the approach of Islamabad since the December 13 Parliament attack.

He maintained that after New Delhi decided to recall the then High Commissioner to Pakistan, Vijay K. Nambiar, Pakistan chose not to reciprocate. ``Pakistan believes in the process of dialogue and political process for resolution of all differences. We did not recall Ashraf Jahangir Qazi as Pakistan thought diplomatic representation at the highest level was needed for reconciliation of differences''.

Mr. Khan regretted ``the anti-Pakistan tone of the resolution'' adopted by the Indian Parliament on the incident near Jammu. He said the statements by Indian leaders during the debate and the contents of the resolution ``betrayed the hostility, which India nurses for Pakistan''.

He said Pakistan was opposed to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Pakistan neither encouraged terrorism nor had anything to do with the Jammu incident, he claimed. As a member of the international coalition against global terrorism, Pakistan was faithfully fulfilling its obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and would continue to do so, he said. He called upon India to avoid levelling `baseless allegations' against Pakistan.

Observers here are of the view that the departure of Mr. Qazi from New Delhi marks a new low in Indo-Pakistan relations.

The former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Tanvir Ahmed Khan, told The Hindu that ``I feel greatly saddened by the latest development. The action of the Indian government is unprecedented. Such a thing did not happen even during the 1971 conflict''. He said it was bold on the part of Mr. Qazi to have stayed on in New Delhi despite the decision of India to recall its High Commissioner in December. Mr. Khan was of the view that Mr. Qazi had made a notable contribution towards improvement in Indo-Pak ties.

The Pakistan reaction is clearly aimed at impressing the international community on its `reasonable approach' compared to the `rigid attitude' of the Vajpayee establishment. Of course it could also be interpreted as a result of pressure from the world community, particularly the U.S., not to do any thing that could only precipitate things. The pressure on the Musharraf regime from the international community is evident in the latest statement by Europe's External Relations Commissioner, Chris Patten, who is expected here next week to impress upon the Pakistan President for urgent steps to translate his January 12 speech into action.

``I will have great difficulty persuading the European Parliament to continue support to Pakistan as we would like, if it looks as though the Government is moving away from what it said about democracy or the promises it made on dealing with terrorism'', Mr. Patten has been quoted as saying in an interview to the Pakistan English daily, Dawn.


The News International, Sunday, May 19, 2002
Islamabad says Ashraf Qazi being recalled

India expels Pak high commissioner

FO says Delhi's move to heighten tension; parliament resolution exposes enmity towards Pakistan

By Umer Farooq

ISLAMABAD. Pakistan on Saturday decided to recall its high commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi from New Delhi after the Indian government asked for his withdrawal amidst growing military tensions between the two countries.

Pakistan government has dubbed the Indian decision of asking for withdrawal of Pakistan high commissioner as an act that would add to already tense situation between the two countries. The Foreign Office spokesman said the government of Pakistan has noted with disappointment the decision of the government of India to ask for the withdrawal of Pak high commissioner in New Delhi. "The government of Pakistan will continue to work for the de-escalation of tension between Pakistan and India and for complete normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries," Aziz Khan said.

Indian Minister for External Affairs Jaswant Singh announced the decision to expel Pak high commissioner after a meeting of Cabinet Committee on Security. "For the sake of parity of the relationship between the two countries, the Pakistan high commissioner is being asked to go back to Islamabad," Jaswant said. The Indian government withdrew its high commissioner from Islamabad after attack on Indian parliament building in December last year.

Asking for the withdrawal of the high commissioner is unprecedented in the diplomatic relations between the South Asian rivals as it has not happened even in the worst times. The Indian government's decision was preceded by her threatening statements and unprovoked firing on the civilians on the Line of Control (LoC), which is still continued unabated.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Foreign Office has regretted the anti-Pakistan tone of the resolution adopted by the Indian Parliament on the May 14 incident near Jammu. He said the statements, during the debate and the contents of the resolution expose the hostility, which India nurses for Pakistan.

Pakistan was opposed to terrorism in all its forms, and nothing to do with the Jammu incident, the spokesman said, adding Pakistan, as a member of the international coalition against terrorism, is sincerely fulfilling its obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions and would continue to do so. The spokesman called upon India to avoid leveling baseless allegations against Pakistan.

Agencies add: Foreign Office spokesman Aziz said on Pakistan Television that India's latest move would only heighten tensions between the two nuclear-capable rivals by hampering communication between them. "When India decided to recall its high commissioner in December we did not take a reciprocal action because Pakistan believes in the dialogue process and we felt that our diplomatic representation at the highest level should be maintained so that all issues with India should be resolved through dialogue and through peaceful means," he said. "Actions like these add to tensions whereas efforts should be in reduction of tension."

Meanwhile, India gave a week's time to Qazi to leave the country. The decision to ask him to leave within a week was communicated by the joint secretary in the Indian External Affairs Ministry, Arun Singh, to Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner Jalil Abbas Jilani, who was summoned to the Foreign Office. This was announced by External Affairs Ministry's spokesperson Nirupama Rao.

The high-level CCS meeting was also briefed by chiefs of the Indian army, navy and air force in the 'operations room' of the defence ministry which is normally used for drawing up military action plans. A thorough review of the ground situation in Kashmir was carried out before CCS sat for discussions.

A former Indian foreign secretary, JN Dixit, said Qazi's expulsion was a 'major step'. "It is a continuum of the diplomatic pressure that we have been putting on Pakistan since December," Dixit said. "Sending back the envoy is a major step. It is to make the point that there was no point in having high-level diplomatic representation when the state he represents is indulging in subversive activities in India."

Dixit said other steps which may follow could include the abrogation of the Indus Water Treaty and economic sanctions against Pakistan. Most of the rivers which flow into eastern Pakistan originate from India and water supply to Pakistan's rich Punjab and Sindh region is controlled by the Indus Water Treaty. Abrogating that would mean 'starving Punjab'. "However, we have not been taking this decision as this would hurt the common man of Pakistan," Dixit said.

The former envoy, however, did not rule out military action as one of the options but said it was clearly the last option. "I don't think military action is the only option," he said. "I think it is the last resort. Getting into a war is not an easy business. That option is not ruled out but you don't enter into a war with a knee-jerk reaction."


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