PAKISTAN: Former President Musharraf and his associates should be held responsible and brought to book for disappearances and the operation of military torture cells

Munir Mengal, the managing director of a Balochi language television channel, was arrested by the state intelligence agencies on 4 April, 2006, at the Karachi International Airport and held in a military torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province for almost 16 months. He was severely tortured to confess to being an activist of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), an organisation banned by the Pakistani and British governments, and that he was involved in anti-state activities. 

It is now reported that during his detention and torture, General Pervez Musharraf, who was then President, met with Mr. Mengal at the Pakistan Army’s provincial headquarters, at Saddar in Karachi. This provincial headquarters of the Pakistan army also maintains torture cells and it was here that Mr. Mengal was held incommunicado and tortured. 

Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) has recently quoted Mr. Mengal as saying that on the evening of 26 October 2006, when he had been held incommunicado for six months, President Musharraf along with five star generals, General Azeem and General Bajwa, met him at the Saddar barracks. After apologising for the way Mr. Megal had been treated, the president asked him, in English, to give up his TV station project. President Musharraf promised to release him if he pulled out of the media domain. President Musharraf also offered him a copy of his book (In The Line Of Fire) so that Mr. Mengal might read it and appreciate his (Musharraf’s) commitment to Pakistan. After refusing his deal, Mr. Mengal was taken back to his torture cell and was repeatedly tortured by MI agents. Mr. Mengal also claimed that Mr. Musharraf’s advisor to national security, Mr. Tariq Aziz, offered him a political job and money in return for abandoning the planned TV station, called “Baloch Voice”. 

The revelation from Mr. Mangal, provided to Reporters Without Frontiers, that President Musharraf met him, along with his advisor of National Security and two other top generals of Pakistan army, at a torture cell and intimidated and threatened him gives ample proof that the former president and his military generals were involved in arresting opponents and keeping them incommunicado in military torture cells. Several thousand people were arrested by the Musharraf regime in the name of the war against terror, and to-date, more than two thousand people remain missing after arrest. The families of the disappeared persons accuse the state intelligence agencies, particularly, Military Intelligence and ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) for keeping missing persons in army torture cells.

Many detainees, who were disappeared after their arrests, testified before the courts, media and different human rights organizations, even to the international human rights organizations, that they were kept in different army torture cells of the country. It has been reported that the military is running 52 torture cells in the Pakistan, please see the link

The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government of Pakistan to start an investigation on the information contained in the statement of Mr. Munir Megal, published by Reporter Without Frontier (RSF) and immediately react to his testimony that former President Musharraf met him at a military torture cell along with his military advisors. The AHRC demands that Pervez Musharraf and his military officers should be booked for arbitrary arrests, holding prisoners incommunicado and inflicting torture in the military torture cells. Furthermore the government must immediately cease the operation of torture cells, run by the government in different cantonment areas of the country. Please go through the following links:

UA-171-2006, UP-001-2007, UA-413-2006, UG-003-2006, UA- 227-2006, UG-013-2006, UA-145-2006, UP-127-2006UA-169-2006 and UA -132-2006,,,,

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-015-2009
Countries : Pakistan,
Campaigns : Stop Disappearances in Pakistan