Pak legal system incapable of prosecuting terrorists: US

Pak legal system incapable of prosecuting terrorists: US

Pak legal system incapable of prosecuting terrorists: US

Asserting that anti-terrorism courts of Pakistan had an acquittal rate of 75 per cent, the United States has said that Islamabad's legal system is almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists, including those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

"While Pakistan's law enforcement community continued to pledge to prosecute those responsible for terrorist acts inside Pakistan, a 2010 review by the United States of Pakistan's anti-terrorism court rulings revealed that Pakistan remained plagued by an acquittal rate of approximately 75 per cent,” the State Department said in its recent annual report on global terrorism.

"The review, in conjunction with information provided by Pakistani law enforcement partners, painted a picture of a legal system almost incapable of prosecuting suspected terrorists," said the report released on August 18.

As such, the US does not appear to be have high hopes in the court case related to the Mumbai terrorist attack, which it is closely monitoring as six Americans were killed in this terrorist attack by Pakistan-based LeT terrorists.

It determined that "the accused in numerous high-profile terrorism incidents involving US victims had all been acquitted by the Pakistani legal system".

The report said US officials continued to monitor court proceedings involving high-profile terrorist attacks, "such as the cases involving seven Pakistanis currently on trial for the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans; and the three Pakistanis on trial for assisting Faisal Shahzad with the attempted May 1, 2010 bombing of Times Square."

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation has assisted with the respective prosecutions," the annual report on global terrorism said.Noting that Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Bill 2010, proposed on July 28, 2010, remained before parliament, the report said it proposes 25 amendments to Pakistan's original legislation, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.

The amendments included provisions that broaden the definition of terrorism, expand the authority of law enforcement agencies investigating terrorist incidents, authorize detention of subjects for 90 days before presenting them before a court, and allow increased electronic surveillance and wiretapping.

The US State Department said Pakistan continued to cooperate in regional and international counterterrorism forums, however, India-Pak counterterrorism cooperation was lacking in 2010.

In January, the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran agreed on a roadmap to confront jointly the challenges of violent extremism and terrorism facing the region by signing the Islamabad Declaration, which was described as a guide to stability, security, and development in the region through mutual cooperation, the report said.