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    Pakistan interrogates Guantanamo prisoners

    [Pakistan interrogates Guantanamo prisoners

    From the International Desk
    Published 8/3/2002 7:22 PM
    View printer-friendly version

    HAVANA, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Pakistani intelligence officers arrived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Saturday to interrogate terrorist suspects from their country held at a U.S. prison facility, official sources said.

    The five-member team, which arrived in Washington Thursday evening, is headed by a senior official of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Tariq Farooq Mirza, and includes four lieutenant colonels from Pakistan's military spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.

    "They are coming here for intelligence gathering and background checks," the official source told United Press International.

    The United States is holding about 384 prisoners of various nationalities at a prison at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Most of those held were captured in Afghanistan in the U.S.-led offensive against the militant Taliban regime and Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist organization.

    Among them are about 40 Pakistani prisoners, most of them captured in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz in November last year.

    Pakistani prisoners in Guantanamo received international attention when a group of previously unknown militants kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, demanding better facilities for the prisoners in return for Pearl's release.

    However, instead of negotiating with U.S. and Pakistani officials, the abductors killed Pearl. Since then four militants have been convicted for his murder in Pakistan, one sentenced to death and three jailed for life. All have appealed the verdict.

    The Northern Alliance forces captured hundreds of Pakistanis from Kunduz, the only Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan. Most of them were religious volunteers who went to Afghanistan to help the Taliban fight the American forces.

    Later, many were released by Afghan warlords who collected $3,000 to 6,000 each from their relatives for setting them free.

    Pakistan says the alliance has handed over more than 100 Pakistani prisoners to India, a charge India denies.

    Najeeb bin al Nauimi, a Qatar lawyer who is representing Arab prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, has asserted that the warlords received as much as $30,000 each for releasing some rich Arab prisoners captured in Kunduz.

    Nauimi said a consortium of wealthy Muslims, whom he declined to identify, told him that two lieutenants of a northern warlord, Gen. Rashid Dostum, led the negotiations with the relatives of the prisoners.

    Nauimi, a lawyer and former minister of Justice of Qatar, said he has formed an international committee of lawyers to provide legal representation for the detainees.

    (Reported by Anwar Iqbal in Washington)

    But now I have learned to listen to silence. To hear its choirs singing the song of ages, chanting the hymns of space and disclosing the secrets of eternity..
    Khalil Gibran
    I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.

    5ab: your byline quote (Khalil Gibran) is beautiful. There's a Mahabhratha verse with a similar is in the context of time-space continuum. What is Gibran's context? Now I am convinced I must read Khalil Gibran (has to be in English unfortunately).


      54 Pakistanis at Camp X-Ray innocent

      By Rana Mubashir

      ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani interrogation squad, which flew to Guantanmo Bay, Cuba, to question 58 alleged Pakistani al-Qaeda members, have declared 54 detainees cleared for having no links with the terrorist network and had asked the US authorities for their repatriation.

      Sources in the foreign office told The News Bureau of Investigation that majority of the Pakistanis held in Guantanmo Camp X-Ray are of 18 to 28 years. Most of them have received education from grade eight to ten, while some hold Masters degree besides a homepathic doctor, and a cleric from a Madressah in Karachi.

      The Pakistani interrogation team comprising representatives from the Inter Services Intelligence, ministries of foreign affairs and interior came across startling facts while interrogating 58 alleged Pakistani al-Qaeda members held at Camp X-Ray.

      According to the investigations, hundreds of wounded Pakistanis were buried alive and thousands were locked up reportedly by Dostum troops in the containers having no air inlet, which resulted in the death of most of the detainees while those who survived were allegedly sold by the Dostum troops to coalition forces for two to three thousand dollars each by tagging them as al-Qaeda terrorists.

      Most of the Pakistanis were either motivated by a handful of "Molvis" who were giving "Fatwas" on "Jihad" and Afghanistan, while others fell victim to a couple of managers of religious outfits.

      The religious organizations had their offices in the main cities of the country and their managers were on hunt for the unemployed youth. They were either lured with money or offered free orientation trip to Afghanistan. Once in Afghanistan they ended up initially in a Darul Aman in Kabul from where they were taken by a 'Talib' to the warfront generally in Kunduz. In Kunduz, they performed guard duties at the second line of defence after three days of on site training in using kalashnikov rifle while those who could not make the three days training were employed as 'Khidmatgars', drivers, cooks and 'tandooris'," an official revealed.

      Questioning carried out by the Pakistani investigation squad reveals that most of the Pakistanis held in Camp X-Ray were in Afghanistan for not more than three to four weeks when the coalition forces started "war against terrorism" in Kabul. "Once the US bombing started and Taliban started surrendering to the Northern Alliance all of them were left on their own and told to return to their homes. Left in the middle of nowhere, they were caught either by Masood or Dostum troops," the investigators were told.

      The team has suggested to the US authorities that the innocent Pakistanis be released which would have a positive impact on those who censure US for arbitrariness. Meanwhile, four more al Qaeda suspects were detained at Camp X-Ray but the team was not allowed to question them, sources said.
      I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


        And told them to shut their mouths.


          The first Pakistani has been released from Guantanamo according to the dailyDawn so Make 7....up yours bhookay.


            Taken from Boston Globe as of Nov. 17. Heart breaking letter.

            Pakistani writes of his US ordeal

            BANNU, Pakistan - Mohamad Azeem fetched one of four creased letters from his son. The return address: Camp X-ray, USA.

            ''Dear Mom and Dad,'' read Issa Khan's penciled script. ''I am in an American jail. I am being questioned but don't worry.

            ''I have no connection with the Taliban or their interpretation of our religion,''
            Issa Khan's letter went on. ''I pray in my jail that, God willing, I will come home soon because I am innocent.''

            Such a message might have alarmed most families. But when the mailman delivered Khan's first letter, in March, the village of Kotka Miralam Daud Shah, near Bannu in the North-West Frontier Province, erupted in joy.

            ''We were so happy to learn Issa is with the Americans,'' Mohamad Azeem said recently. ''We thought our son had been killed.''

            Issa's mother, Sardara Azeem, wept with relief and insisted on a feast of chicken tikka.

            Now the family is awaiting further word from Khan, encouraged by the release of four inmates - three Afghans and one Pakistani - from the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Khan, who was detained in Afghanistan about a year ago, is among 57 Pakistani suspects at Guantanamo.

            Khan's family insists that he is not a fighter, and that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Although it is impossible to verify their story, it speaks to the anguish and uncertainty of Pakistanis who were caught up in the events in Afghanistan.

            Khan's friends and family describe this as a tragic love story. For months before he was captured, Khan, 28, couldn't concentrate. He was pining for Fahima, the Afghan judge's daughter whom he had courted and wed.

            Issa had agreed to let Fahima show off their new baby son to relatives in her hometown, the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif. He stayed behind and grew lonesome at a frontier clinic in Peshawar, Pakistan, where he worked in homeopathic medicine.

            Issa Khan persuaded his father to lend him money to bring his wife and son home by bus before the snows blocked the mountain passes near the border.

            Khan set off in August 2001 on a dump truck to Mazar-e-Sharif. A few months later, while he was trying to coax in-laws to allow his wife and infant son to return home with him, the US bombs started falling.

            It was then, Khan's family and friends say, that he was swept up in the fighting between the US-backed Northern Alliance and the Taliban near Mazar-e-Sharif.

            They say they believe he was arrested by Northern Alliance troops seeking to claim bounties, allegedly offered by the United States, for the arrest of suspected Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters.

            Pakistani intelligence sources said Northern Alliance commanders could receive $5,000 for each Taliban prisoner and 20,000 for a Qaeda fighter. As a result, bounty hunters rounded up any men who came near the battlegrounds and forced them to confess.

            Pakistani officials, who twice interviewed some of the captives in Cuba, have asked the United States to free 50 Pakistani detainees among the 600 prisoners because they pose no threat.

            Most of them are younger than 22, and most were so eager to prove their manhood by volunteering to fight the jihad that they signed up at local mosques in the semiautonomous zone near the frontier.

            According to Rao Abid Hamid, a prisoners' advocate from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, most of these youths are clueless about Al Qaeda.

            Khan's family insists that he was not interested in waging a holy war, and they want answers.

            They have sent petitions to the provincial governor, to Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, to the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, to the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, and to President Bush, pleading for news of their son.

            They received one curt notice, from the Red Cross: Their paperwork had been received. But even that has given them hope. A homecoming party is in the works.

            ''We are not angry at the Americans,'' said Khan's father, Mohamad Azeem. ''Things were so disturbed at that time. ... But we have no information about any charges against our son. If he had no weapon at the time of his arrest, shouldn't he be released?

            And if and when he is finally freed: ''We will all go out in convoy to greet him with music,'' Azeem said. ''In a great procession, the whole village will bring him home. We dream about this every night.''


              The fate of the innocent detainees is sad, but to be fair to the US, in there tradition of humane practice and rule of law, they kept these ppl in camps-when they could have very easily "exterminated" them-under the cover of the war in Afghanistan.