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Incitement goes unchecked as hatred is spewed at rallies By Saba Imtiaz Published: October 7, 2011 KARACHI: The judge who

sentenced former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseers assassin, Malik Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, to death has been forced to go on leave after threa ts, banners and slogans at rallies proclaiming him a non-Muslim and an Ahmadi. His court in Rawalpindi was also attacked by lawyers. The irony is that the judge of an anti-terrorism court (ATC) is dealing with an a ction of terrorism that is defined in the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). The law states that acts of terrorism include the [incitement of] hatred and cont empt on religious, sectarian or ethnic basis to stir up violence or cause intern al disturbance. This basic definition has not stopped the ongoing campaign of inciting hatred. But building a case against these individuals requires determining violations of the ATA, particularly incitement. While law enforcement and intelligence agenci es are tasked with the job, their assessments are often based on their operative s views and biases. For example, a Jamaat Ahmadiyya representative told The Express Tribune that whe n police officers entered the places of worship in Lahore after scores of Ahmadi s were massacred in 2010, among their first few words were: Saare hi marr gaye ho ya koi bacheya vi aye? [Are all of you dead, or did someone survive?]. Former IG Sindh police Aftab Nabi says that the police should depute officers wi th different backgrounds to get a broader analysis. This, he says, would help ov ercome any limitations the officer has. Despite this, law enforcement agencies have monitored people known for inflammat ory speeches, such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvis (LeJ) Malik Ishaq, who was recently deta ined under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Act. Secondly, provincial governments also allow and provide security to rallies wher e incitement occurs. Rallies in Lahore supporting Qadri continue to be held, hig hlighting state complicity. In a United States Institute of Peace report on police reforms, author Hassan Ab bas referenced analysis by Khaled Ahmed on the issue: Throughout the 1990s one or two intelligence officers in each district of Pakistan were tasked to help out members of the state-supported militant groups if the police create[d] any proble ms for them. The report further adds, In private discussions police officers routinely mention apprehending militants and criminals but quickly receiving requests from intellig ence agencies (civilian or military) to let them go. Although the intensity of s uch practices has decreased in the post-9/11 environment, even today the police hesitate to pursue militants and activists associated with groups generally know n for their close relationship with the intelligence services. Criminal lawyer Zulfiqar Abbas Naqvi disagrees with the perception that the ATA is insufficient or that the courts and police dont do their job. The real issue is of evidence. People need to come forward and testify. They do have fears, but w hat they dont realise is that they may be setting a murderer free who will later either shoot them or someone else. A man will be caught red-handed kidnapping so

meone but the victim will say in court, I dont recognise this person. What is the c ourt supposed to do? A witness protection programme has been in the works in Sindh for several months now, but has not been implemented yet. Naqvi says suspects have also become savvier. Suspects in terrorism cases are oft en picked up by the intelligence agencies who detain them for one or two months. During this time, their organisations file writ after writ about the illegal de tention and rile up the public. By the time the police make a formal arrest, the court will not accept their reasons for the delay. To avoid this, the police sh ould make the initial arrest and then the agencies can interrogate the suspect. They could also amend the period of remand. Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2011.