Here are excerpts from “The ordeal of Mullah Zaeef” by Ayaz Amir, published in Dawn of September 22, 006. Complete article can be read by clicking on the title above or writing the following URL in your browser http://www.dawn.com/weekly/ayaz/20060922.htm
WE know, to our lasting shame, how our overlords, dazzled by American power, and afraid of God knows what, handed over the ex-Taliban ambassador, Mullah Abdus Salam Zaeef, to the Americans in January 2002 — in violation of every last comma of international law.
But until now we have not been privy to the details: how exactly did the handing-over take place? Now to satisfy our curiosity, and perhaps outrage our feelings, comes Mullah Zaeef’s own account, published in Pashto and parts of which have been translated into Urdu by the Express newspaper.
To say that the account is eye-opening would be an understatement. It is harrowing and mind-blowing. Can anyone bend so low as our government did? And can behaviour be as wretched as that displayed by American military personnel into whose custody Zaeef was given?
On the morning of January 2, 2002, three officials of a secret agency arrived at Zaeef’s house in Islamabad with this message: “Your Excellency, you are no more excellency.” One of them said, no one can resist American power, or words to that effect. “ America wants to question you. We are going to hand you over to the Americans so that their purpose is served and
Pakistan is saved from a big danger.”
Zaeef could have been forgiven for feeling stunned. From the “guardians of Islam” this was the last thing that he expected, that for the sake of a few “coins” (his words) he would be delivered as a “gift” to the Americans. Under heavy escort he was taken to Peshawar, kept there for a few days and then pushed into his nightmare. Blindfolded and handcuffed, he was driven to a place where a helicopter was waiting, its engines running. Someone said, “Khuda hafiz” (God preserve you). There were some people speaking in English. “Suddenly I was pounced upon and flung on the ground, kicked and pummelled from all sides. So sudden was the attack that I was dumbfounded… My blindfold slipping, I saw a line of Pakistani soldiers to one side and some vehicles including one with a flag…My clothes were stripped from my body and I was naked but ‘my former friends’ kept watching the spectacle. The locks on their lips I can never forget… The (Pakistani) officers present there could at least have said he is our guest, in our presence don’t treat him like this. Even in my grave I will not be able to forget that scene.”
These are the standard-bearers of human rights and freedom from whom we are supposed to take lessons in democracy. Why does the Bush administration and its acolytes in Britain so loath President Ahmedinejad of Iran and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela? Because they look America in the eye and are not afraid of speaking the truth.
The US covered itself in a garb of hurt innocence when the Sep 11, 2001, attacks took place. But using those attacks as a pretext, it has done so much harm around the world, especially in the Middle East and our region, that its hands are covered in blood.
Indeed, if we are at all interested in sustainable development, we’ll have to think of something better and less destructive than unbridled capitalism. And something less arrogant than the new imperialism to which our region is being exposed.
And who was the senior officer, with a flag on his jeep? My course-mate Ehsan — 41st PMA — was then heading ISI, the organization in overall command of such sensitive matters.
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