Rights Group: Pakistan Using Tribal Militias for Extralegal Killings

Report Details Hundreds of Mutilated Bodies in Malakand

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) today issued their annual report, condemning the Pakistani government for its policy of setting up tribal militias as “proxies” in its assorted wars against the insurgents.

As the violence across Pakistan has grown, the government has increasingly pressed tribes in the effected areas to form “lashkars,” or tribal militias, and given them arms and orders to go after the Taliban. In many cases the tribes are coerced with threats of being added to the list of Pashtun groups called “Taliban” across the country.

The commission detailed in particular the violence in Malakand, one of the major military offensives last year. While the military invaded and drove civilians out of the Swat Valley and surrounding areas, they also pressed the lashkars into service. The result was around 300 mutilated bodies found throughout the area, dumped along roadsides and hanging in trees.

The HRCP complained that the government was using the lashkars for extralegal killings of suspects, giving them plausible deniability over responsibility for those deaths. Pakistan’s government has constantly maintained that they don’t give any specific orders to the lashkars, but private indications suggest this is not the case.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.