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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Council
at its 171st session (Geneva, 27 September 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/171/12(a)-R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 170th session (March 2002),

Taking account of the information supplied by the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations Office in Geneva on 24 and 26 June 2002, and of the information provided by the defence counsel on 23 June and 6 September 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 eight accountability cases; 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 for 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 with the Supreme Court which has yet to be heard,

Recalling that Mr. Zardari was tortured on 17 May 1999 while in the custody of the Central Investigative Agency as sustained by the District and Session Judge of Malir Karachi in his conclusions of 11 September 1999; according to the source, early in 2002, the Sindh High Court registered a court case against some police officers with respect to Mr. Zardari's ill-treatment; however, none of the officers denounced in Mr. Zardari's complaint had reportedly been named,

Recalling also that shortly after 15 December 2001, when Mr. Zardari had been granted bail in all cases, he was arrested in a new case (allegedly evading payment of duties for an imported BMW car - the so-called "BMW case"); while the authorities affirm that it concerns a serious case of corruption which has been filed in court, the source believes that this case has been instituted to prolong Mr. Zardari's detention and that the consideration of his bail petition has been deliberately delayed by the authorities,

Noting in this respect that Mr. Zardari's lawyers allege in their communication of 6 September 2002 that, in order to pre-empt his possible release on bail, the authorities have now remanded Mr. Zardari for an initial 15-day period in another, existing accountability case ("Assets Reference"), even though it had been left dormant for four years for want of evidence,

Considering that, according to the authorities, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (PIMS), where Mr. Zardari is hospitalised, is equipped with all the necessary facilities and provides him with first-class treatment for any ailments he may suffer; taking into account that the physician who supervises Mr. Zardari's health, reported that he has been receiving physiotherapy and painkillers and has received the court's permission to import a special rocking chair with lumbar support and that "from a purely medical point of view the kind of care he needs now does not really require full-time admission in hospital",

Recalling finally that, while the lawyers have affirmed that most of the cases against Mr. Zardari are being held up by obstruction from the prosecution, the authorities have affirmed that the lengthy proceedings were to be blamed not on the authorities but on Mr. Zardari for not appearing at proceedings, or on his lawyers for using delaying tactics,

  1. Thanks the authorities for the information provided and their cooperation;

  2. Notes with deep regret that, despite several requests, the authorities have not stated whether or not proceedings are indeed under way to identify and bring to justice the officers responsible for torturing Mr. Zardari in May 1999 and whether the suicide charges against him have been dropped accordingly; would greatly appreciate information on this crucial point of concern, and, should proceedings have indeed started, to be notified of the stage reached;

  3. Notes with concern that each time Mr. Zardari is about to be released on bail, he is arrested in a new or previously dormant case; can but consider that this state of affairs lends credence to the allegation that arrest warrants are merely issued to prevent his release on bail;

  4. Remains concerned at the length of the proceedings under way against Mr. Zardari, and affirms that the authorities have a duty to ensure that the fundamental right of all defendants to be tried without undue delay or otherwise be released is respected; urges the competent authorities to establish, in compliance with the Supreme Court order, a timetable for the completion of all proceedings pending against Mr. Zardari; wishes to ascertain any new decision the Supreme Court may have taken in this respect;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to bring this resolution to the attention of the authorities and of the source;

  6. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (April 2003).

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