Cheema report not presented in Senate committee -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Cheema report not presented in Senate committee

By: Ahmad Noorani

ISLAMABAD: The PPP government is bent upon defending the Inter Services Intelligence’s (ISI) role in Umar CheemaÂ’s abduction and worst torture case as Islamabad Police chief SSP Tahir Alam claimed before the Senate standing committee on human rights Tuesday that intelligence agencies do leave any trace behind while carrying out such clandestine operations.

The government has so far ignored all the parliamentary and democratic values and principles and despite repeated demands of the opposition and different parliamentary committees, it is consistently denying presentation of the report of the Umar Cheema judicial commission.

The News has learnt that the judicial commissionÂ’s report, if not already tempered, has fully exposed the role of ISI in its finding and that’s why the top bosses of the ministry are not publishing it.

Top interior ministry officials apprehend that the report could be tempered with and those who were part of the probe could be harassed to keep them quiet. The commission has interviewed many witnesses and top professionals of the country.

The Islamabad Police chief further explained to the standing committee that the abduction of Umar Cheema, The News’ investigative journalist, indicates it was not a normal criminal case as scanning through his published stories shows his writings had earned him the ire.

The SSP remained quiet when Senator Pervaiz Rashid asked why the police did not summon the intelligence agencies for investigation into CheemaÂ’s case, as the victim strongly suspected their role in his kidnapping.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Afrasiab Khattak, presided over the meeting attended by Senators Pervez Rashid, SM Zafar, Raza Rabbani, Azam Swati and others.

The senators were so upset over the tactics of the interior ministry being employed to delay the report that the chair directed DG National Crisis Management Cell Brig. (r) Javed Iqbal Lodhi, sitting on the occasion, to immediately go and table the report before the meeting ends.

Lodhi subsequently went out for a while and then returned, saying the ministry’s officer in control of the report was not available ensuring, however, that the report would be delivered to the committee chairmanÂ’s office within hours. It did not happen.

The senators also asked probing questions about the criminal investigation into the case that is being conducted without reading the judicial commission’s report that was supposed to provide guidelines for further investigations.

The committee members were also annoyed over the ministry’s non-seriousness towards the compliance of its order, as during the last hearing, it was directed that NADRA and the cellular company having Umar Cheema its consumer, must be summoned to today’s meeting.

Reason for putting them on notice was the doubts that emerged from the Inspector General Bani Amin’s last statement that was confronted by Cheema who had contested the police chief’s statement that NADRA could not match with its record the forensic samples collected from Cheema’s car.

The journalist insisted that the samples were not sent to NADRA in the first place, what to speak of their matching or un-matching.

Likewise, cellular company was summoned to inquire how the SIM issued in Cheema’s name was later transferred to another person soon after the incident of his kidnapping occurred on September 4, 2010.
Source: The News
Date:8/3/2011