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PAKISTAN
CASE N° PAK/08 - ASIF ALI ZARDARI
Resolution adopted without a vote by the IPU Council
at its 170th session (Marrakech, 23 March 2002)


The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Senator Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/170/13.c(ii)-R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 169th session (September 2001),

Taking account of the information provided on the occasion of the Committee's 96th session (January 2002) by Mr. Raja Muhammad Bashir, Prosecutor General of the Pakistani National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and of the information provided by the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Office in Geneva in his letters of 6 and 22 November 2001;

Taking also account of the information provided by one of Mr. Zardari's defence counsel at his hearing with the Committee on the occasion of the 107th Conference (March 2002),

Recalling that Mr. Zardari has been in prison since his arrest on 4 November 1996; six ordinary criminal cases have been brought against him and, as at 15 December 2001, seven accountability cases;

Considering that on 15 December 2001, when he was about to be released, having been granted bail in all cases pending against him, Mr. Zardari was re-arrested, a new accountability case having been filed against him (allegedly evading payment of duties by falsely declaring the value of a BMW car he imported); Mr. Zardariís counsel affirms that these new charges have been fabricated to ensure his continued detention, that a bail petition in this case has been delayed deliberately and is due for consideration by the High Court only at the end of March 2002 and that, although Mr. Zardari was arrested in this case 90 days ago, it has not as yet been filed in court,

Noting that the Prosecutor General of the NAB stated, with respect to the injuries sustained by Mr. Zardari on 17 May 1999 while in the custody of the Central Investigative Agency, that the District and Session Judge of Malir Karachi had concluded on 11 September 1999 that "the facts and circumstances as adduced from the evidence produced show that these injuries were inflicted but the culprits have not been named nor have been identified, i.e. those who had inflicted the injuries"; the Prosecutor General stated that these findings showed that there was no conclusive evidence on the exact cause of the injuries; the Government had therefore nominated a High Court judge to make a further investigation of these incidents; should he indeed conclude that Mr. Zardari had been tortured, immediate and effective steps would be taken to bring the culprits to trial; Mr. Zardari would meanwhile remain charged with attempted suicide,

Taking account of the information provided by the source on 26 January 2002 that the Sindh High Court had finally registered a court case against certain police officers; however, none of the officers denounced in Mr. Zardari's petition had reportedly been named, which suggested a deliberate attempt to protect the real culprits,

Considering that, according to the Prosecutor General of the NAB, in the absence of any progress in the criminal cases in Karachi, court permission was obtained, which the source denies, for Mr. Zardari's transfer to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (PIMS) so as to facilitate his presence for the accountability cases in Rawalpindi; the PIMS is equipped with all facilities necessary for his medical treatment; Mr. Zardari receives first-class treatment and has full permission to see counsel and family; the transfer of cases to Fort Attock in Islamabad took place by court order and only after the doctor attending Mr. Zardari certified that he was fit to travel; additionally, a qualified physician has always accompanied him in an ambulance; the allegation that Mr. Zardari had so far not received any hydrotherapy treatment would be looked into and such therapy would be provided if deemed necessary; the source denies that the PIMS has the necessary facilities and asserts that Mr. Zardari is not receiving the treatment he requires,

Noting that, according to Mr. Zardari's lawyer, the Supreme Court ordered in April 2001 that all accountability cases be completed and dealt with within three months and that thereafter Mr. Zardari be moved to Karachi to face trial in the pending criminal cases; on 15 November 2001, the Supreme Court extended that term by three months; however, the cases have not been completed to date and his lawyers have filed an application in the Supreme Court which has yet to be heard,

Recalling that in April 2001 the Supreme Court ordered the retrial of the only case which has so far led to a judgment (SGS case) and that, according to his lawyers, Mr. Zardari had already served the five-year prison sentence handed down on him in that case and was entitled to statutory bail; noting the observations of the Prosecutor General that Mr. Zardari was never arrested in that case,

Noting that Mr. Zardari's lawyers claim that they are subject to continuous harassment, the latest allegation being in relation to an alleged army raid on Mr. Naek's office in April 2001, in which his staff were reportedly harassed and one of them taken away and forced to sign blank papers; noting also that the Prosecutor General of the NAB stated that it had been a "routine inspection" to verify whether the electricity meters were properly connected, electricity theft being widespread in Pakistan, and that it was common for such an inspection to be accompanied by an Army Monitoring Team; in response, Mr. Naek asserted that his office had been singled out and that no other lawyer in Karachi had been subjected to such a raid,

  1. Thanks the Prosecutor General of the National Accountability Bureau and the Permanent Representative for their spirit of dialogue and the valuable information and clarifications provided;
  2. Notes with satisfaction that proceedings have reportedly started against certain police officers in relation to the injuries inflicted on Mr. Zardari, and trusts that the Pakistani authorities will ensure the speedy identification and punishment of the culprits and drop the suicide charges against Mr. Zardari accordingly;
  3. Expresses concern that Mr. Zardari, shortly before his imminent release on bail, was arrested in another case in which, three months later, legal proceedings have yet to start, thereby adding weight to the allegation that his prolonged detention is based on other than legal grounds; calls on the authorities to grant Mr. Zardari bail without undue delay, particularly since bail has been allowed in relation to much more serious charges pending against him;
  4. Reiterates its serious concern that, almost six years after Mr. Zardariís arrest, none of the cases against him have been completed, and stresses that under internationally recognised human rights norms, anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge must be either tried without undue delay or released immediately; wishes to be kept informed of any Supreme Court findings on a final timetable for completion of proceedings in the cases pending against Mr. Zardari;
  5. Expresses concern at the allegations that Mr. Naek's office was raided, that his staff were harassed and one of them taken away and forced to sign blank papers; wishes to ascertain whether an investigation has been launched to look into the allegations and, if so, its outcome;
  6. Calls on the authorities to ensure that Mr. Zardari receives the medical treatment ordered by the Courts; wishes to ascertain whether the Prosecutor General of the National Accountability Bureau has meanwhile inquired, as promised, into the allegation that the treatment which Mr. Zardari reportedly needs has so far not been provided and, if so, the outcome of his inquiry;
  7. Requests the Secretary General to bring this resolution to the attention of the authorities and of the source;
  8. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (September 2002).

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