IPU Logo-middleInter-Parliamentary Union  
IPU Logo-bottomChemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland  

Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 175th session (Geneva, 1st October 2004)

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/175/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 174th session (April 2004),

Taking account of information provided at a hearing with a member of the Pakistani delegation to the 111th Assembly (September-October 2004) and of information provided by the source,

Recalling that the District and Session Judge of Malir Karachi found in his conclusions of 11 September 1999 that Mr. Zardari had been tortured on 17 and 19 May 1999, and that the culprits have not been identified; considering in this respect that, in May 2004, Mr. Zardari submitted a private complaint against several former and current officials relating to the injuries he had sustained, and that the judge in that case ordered the Sindh police to register a criminal case against those persons; the police allegedly declined to do so and an application for contempt of court is pending against the responsible police officer; noting also that the member of the Pakistani delegation is aware that Mr. Zardari was tortured but affirms that it has not been possible to identify the culprits,

Recalling that Mr. Zardari was arrested in November 1996 under the Public Maintenance Order Act; of the many cases that have since then been brought against him in Pakistan, five criminal cases and seven accountability cases are still pending, three of which have been adjourned sine die by the Court and others have not been proceeding; according to the Supreme Court's timetable, the accountability references should have been concluded by 15 February 2002, after which Mr. Zardari should have been moved to Karachi to face trial in the criminal cases; appeals are pending before the Supreme Court regarding the failure to respect the timetable; considering that, according to the member of the Pakistani delegation, Mr. Zardari is guilty of mass-scale corruption and he is facing many legal actions abroad; he stated that the delays in the proceedings were caused by Mr. Zardari for the purpose of prolonging his detention in the hope of receiving favourable treatment in the event of a regime change in Pakistan,

Considering that, on 12 September 2004, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari was acquitted in the Steel Mill accountability case; that he is on bail in all cases, except the so-called BMW car case in which he was arrested in December 2002; while according to the sources this case concerns failure to pay part of the duty on the import of a second-hand BMW car, the Pakistani delegate affirmed that it concerned tax evasion on the import of a bullet-proof vehicle; according to Mr. Zardariís defence counsel, such cases usually result in confiscation of the item in question and not in arrest; Mr. Zardari's bail petition in this case was rejected by the Lahore High Court, reportedly without any grounds being given, and an appeal has been pending before the Supreme Court since July 2003,

Recalling its persistent concerns at allegations that the authorities do not allow Mr. Zardari access to medical treatment as required under Court orders; noting that, following Mr. Zardari's surgery on 18 February 2004, the authorities have reportedly thwarted his recovery treatment; the member of the Pakistani delegation, however, reiterated the authorities' views that Mr. Zardari was given privileged medical treatment, that he had a complete hospital floor to himself and that, when being shifted, he was travelling first class; recalling in this connection that, on the occasion of his visit to Pakistan in July 2003, the Secretary General was not allowed to see Mr. Zardari,

  1. Thanks the member of the Pakistani delegation for the information provided;

  2. Recalls that its concerns are related not to the substance of the many proceedings brought against Mr. Zardari, but to the question of respect for international norms regarding due process and fair trial;

  3. Is therefore deeply concerned at the excessive delay in the consideration of Mr. Zardari's bail petition in the so-called BMW case, in which he was arrested almost three years ago when about to be released, and which at present forms the only legal basis for his continuing detention;

  4. Recalls the basic principle that justice must not only be served but also be seen to be served; calls therefore on the authorities to grant Mr. Zardari bail without any further delay, particularly since it has been granted to him in much more serious cases;

  5. Recalls that, under internationally recognised human rights norms, anyone arrested has the right to be tried without undue delay or else be released; affirms that it is the responsibility of the competent Pakistani authorities to ensure that the proceedings against Mr. Zardari are conducted with the necessary diligence, and to respect the timetable set by the Supreme Court for their completion, and that blaming the length of the proceedings on Mr. Zardari cannot be a valid argument;

  6. Fails to understand why the authorities are unable to identify the torturers of Mr. Zardari when the time and place of his interrogation during which he was tortured are known and he himself has provided the names of suspects; is therefore alarmed at the allegation that the police have refused to implement a court order requiring them to register a case against the presumed culprits of the torture inflicted on Mr. Zardari; urges the authorities to cooperate fully with the judge as is their duty; wishes to be kept informed in this regard;

  7. Urges once again the authorities to ensure that court orders prescribing Mr. Zardariís medical treatment are fully implemented;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to convey the present resolution to the competent executive, parliamentary and judicial authorities and to the sources;

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 112th Assembly (April 2005).

* The Pakistani delegation took the floor to comment on the resolution. Its observations may be found in the Summary Records of the 175th session of the Governing Council.


Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 111th IPU Assembly and related meetings in PDF format (file size 520K approximately ). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader