US wants aid to Pak linked to results of 'execution by soldiers' video probe

Written by: Nairita Das
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Islamabad, Oct 9 (ANI): In the wake of video clips showing Pakistani soldiers executing a group of blindfolded men in civilian dresses circulating on the Internet, the chairman of the US Appropriations Subcommittee for funding foreign aid programs has stated that he expects action from Pakistan in this regard.

The chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is also the author of the law prohibiting military assistance to rights abusers, has sought to link the recent incidents in Pakistan to additional aid to be provided by the US, the Washington Post reported.

"Given what's happening in Pakistan, with the closing of the border, the attacks against U.S. supply vehicles, and the reports of executions of civilians by Pakistani soldiers, I want to know what changes will be made before we provide additional aid," Leahy said.

In addition to the execution video, Leahy's reference was to the US-Pak standoff over the deaths of at least two Pakistani soldiers killed last week by missiles fired by ISAF helicopters flying across the border from Afghanistan, retaliating against which, Pakistan has kept a key crossing into Afghanistan closed to NATO convoys for over a week now.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani has ordered a probe into the video footage, apparently shot by cell phones, saying, "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."

While he also warned that the shooters in the video might be militants disguised as soldiers to "malign" the military or to mask their identities, Obama administration and US military officials, under pressure from Congress to address Pakistani military abuses, have urged action.

Pentagon and State Department officials briefed House and Senate staffers on the Pakistan human rights issue on Capitol Hill. The US law prohibits assistance to any foreign military units shown to have committed rights abuses, unless the government involved takes action against the guilty.

Pakistan human rights activists have raised doubts over the inquiry announced by Kayani, noting that past army inquiries into alleged extra-judicial killings and abuses had held no one accountable.

"We hope that this will in fact be a meaningful inquiry and not a sham perpetrated to assuage international concerns," said Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights Watch, talking about the latest probe.

There are two clips- the longer one lasts five minutes and 39 seconds and shows what appears to be a group of Pakistani soldiers, fully armed and in uniform, guiding the blindfolded men to a wooded area in front of a wall and lining them up next to one another. They are then shot.

A voice is heard saying "finish them one by one". A soldier then walks over to the men and shoots them again.

The second clip lasts 53 seconds and shows only the executions. (ANI)

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