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SHOOTING OF UNARMED MAN IN PAKSITAN TRIGGERS FRESH CRITICISM AROUND THE WORLD


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The killing of an apparently unarmed man by paramilitary troops is likely to erode what little public confidence remains in Pakistan's security forces who have been on the defensive since Osama Bin Laden was killed in a US raid.
The incident, caught on video and broadcast on local television stations, triggered fresh criticism of Pakistan's human rights record and an unpopular government many say has failed to rein in the police and army, and who seem to act with impunity.
  • It also further dented the reputation of the powerful security establishment in this US ally which has been deeply embarrassed by the fact that the Al Qaida leader was found and killed in Pakistan last month, and its subsequent failure to stop a small group of militants from besieging a key naval air base.
  • "It shows that our law enforcement agencies have truly become trigger happy and the brutalisation of society that has come about as a consequence," Zohra Yousuf, head of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told Reuters.
  • "It's very very disturbing and it's been happening too often."
  • In the footage, a plain-clothed man grabs the victim by the hair and drags him over to a group of paramilitary Rangers in Karachi. He pleads for mercy, then one of the soldiers shoots him twice. The man, identified as Sarfaraz Shah, falls to the ground and screams in pain. The soldiers stand beside him.
  • He collapses in a pool of blood beside a park named after late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was seen around the world as a symbol of democracy.
  • The Rangers initially described the incident as an encounter with an armed criminal, a senior police official said. A cameraman from Awaz television channel who shot the video has received death threats from unknown people, one of his bosses said.
News of the death was splashed across the front pages of newspapers beside photographs of Shah's grieving relatives. "Karachi extra-judicial killing shocks Pakistan," read one banner headline.
The video comes a few days after a journalist who had reported that Al Qaida was behind the brazen raid on the PNS Mehran air base was tortured to death. Suspicion immediately fell on military intelligence, which said it played no role in the killing. The Daily Times said the military, paramilitary forces, police and intelligence agencies "who confidently violate human rights" should be held accountable for their actions.
Source: Agency
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