Amnesty International accused Pakistan of widespread human rights violations in support of America's "war on terror" as the Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf, visited the UK today.
Hundreds of terrorism suspects have been arbitrarily detained since 2001, many of whom have been tortured or forcibly "disappeared", according to Amnesty. The allegations add to the controversy surrounding Gen Musharraf.
The Amnesty report focuses on Pakistan's capture of more than 600 al-Qaida suspects since 2001. Gen Musharraf has boasted of the arrests as proof of his commitment to the fight against al-Qaida. In his new memoirs, In the Line of Fire, he claims that the CIA has paid Pakistan hundreds of millions of dollars in bounty payments for the capture of 369 al-Qaida suspects since 2001.
The US justice department has denied making the payments.
This year Gen Musharraf and his chief spokesman have variously claimed 500-1,000 arrests. But Amnesty says the arrests were outside the law and led into the world of secretive detention, where torture and extrajudicial killing are rife.
Typically detainees are held at safe houses in Pakistan run by the ISI intelligence agency before being moved to US-controlled facilities in Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay or Middle Eastern countries.
American officials participated in some arrests and may have been involved in torture, according to Amnesty.
Pakistani officials deny wrongdoing and point to their successes, including the arrests of the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and Abu Farj al-Libbi, described as al-Qaida's number three. But Pakistani officials have also picked up hundreds of small figures, some of whom have disappeared or been killed.
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