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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 173rd session (Geneva, 3 October 2003)

The Governing 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/173/11(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 171st session (September 2002),

Recalling the following consistent concerns it has expressed in this case, particularly with respect to:

  • The torture inflicted on Mr. Zardari on 17 and 19 May 1999 while he was 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, and the decision to charge Mr. Zardari with attempted suicide on 12 October 2000;

  • His continuing detention since November 1996 and the fact that, when he was about to be released on bail in all cases pending against him, his arrest was ordered in a new case or in an already pending case;

  • The length of the many criminal and accountability proceedings brought against him, some of which have now been under way for more than six years without reaching the trial stage; in this respect, the Supreme Court reportedly decided in November 2001 to extend by three months the timetable established to dispose of the accountability references so as to allow Mr. Zardari subsequently to face trial in the six criminal cases in Karachi; the source has filed an application with the Supreme Court, which has yet to be heard, concerning failure to implement the timetable,

Considering that the Secretary General, on the occasion of his official visit to Pakistan (22 to 25 July 2003) met the Acting Prosecutor General of the NAB, who stated that the delays in processing the various court cases had been mainly due to the counsel for defence and the defendant himself; the Secretary General was told that Mr. Zardari had a whole floor to himself in a hospital in Karachi, that his daughter was at the time staying with him, and that he lacked no medical or other facilities; considering, however, that the Secretary General's request to visit Mr. Zardari in detention was not granted,

Recalling that, according to information provided by members of the Pakistani delegation at the hearing held on the occasion of the 108th IPU Conference (April 2003), the new Parliament stood ready to cooperate in the case; noting that a similar willingness was expressed by the parliamentary authorities on the occasion of the Secretary General's visit to Pakistan,

Taking account of information provided by the source that Mr. Zardari was acquitted of the attempted suicide charge by the Court of Judicial Magistrates in August 2003,

Considering that, on 5 August 2003, a Judge in Geneva, Switzerland, sentenced Mr. Zardari and his wife, former Prime Minister Bhutto, for money laundering to a six-month suspended jail term, fined them US$ 50,000 each and ordered them to pay more than US$ 2 million to the Pakistani Government; according to the source, the defence was not allowed to examine the documents which the Pakistani Government had made available, the convicts were not served proper notice of the case and denied the opportunity of being heard; Mr. Zardari has sent a letter to the Geneva Police in Switzerland opposing the sentence,

  1. Notes that Mr. Zardari has reportedly been acquitted of the attempted suicide charges; would greatly appreciate receiving official confirmation thereof;

  2. Remains deeply concerned, however, at the continuous absence of information on progress in bringing the culprits of Mr. Zardari's torture to trial; fears that this unresponsiveness may indicate a lack of resolve on the part of the authorities to act on the conclusive judicial findings adopted more than four years ago;

  3. Stresses that under the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UN General Assembly resolution 3452 (XXX) of 9 December 1975), "criminal proceedings shall be instituted against the alleged offender or offenders…if an investigation establishes that an act of torture appears to have been committed" and that "the victim shall be afforded redress and compensation";

  4. Urges once again the authorities, as is their duty, to do everything in their power to bring those responsible for inflicting the injuries on Mr. Zardari to trial and to provide him with redress;

  5. Is deeply concerned at the reported failure to implement the timetable established by the Supreme Court, particularly since in a case in which proceedings are pending in several places at the same time, such a schedule is essential to ensuring respect for the internationally recognised right to be tried without undue delay;

  6. Calls on Parliament, as an expression of its stated commitment to cooperate in this case, to avail itself fully of its oversight function so as to ensure that Mr. Zardari's torture does not go unpunished and that the proceedings against him are completed without any further delay; would appreciate receiving information as to whether any such monitoring action has been taken;

  7. Deeply regrets that the Secretary General was denied the opportunity of meeting Mr. Zardari, thereby being deprived of the possibility to obtain first-hand information on his conditions of detention and thus remove its concerns in this respect;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent Pakistani authorities and the source;

  9. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session to be held on the occasion of the 110th Assembly.

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