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Friday, 26 February 2010, 16:18
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ISLAMABAD 000461
EO 12958 DECL: 02/26/2020
TAGS PGOV, PREL, PTER, PK, AF
SUBJECT: GOP DENIES AGREEMENT TO TRANSFER BERADAR TO
AFGHANISTAN; LAHORE HIGH COURT INTERVENES
ISLAMABAD 00000461 001.2 OF 003
Classified By: Anne W. Patterson for reasons 1.4 (b) (d)
1. (C) Summary: On February 26, the Lahore High Court reportedly barred the Government of Pakistan (GOP) from
extraditing Mullah Beradar and four other Afghan Taliban leaders, pending a hearing on March 15 to which both the
federal government and concerned provincial governments have been summoned. The LHC’s ruling comes on the heels of a
February 25 petition filed by Khalid Khawaja, the Chief Coordinator of the Defense Human Rights Commission, challenging
the detention of the Afghan Taliban leaders. The same day of Khawaja’s petition, the press had reported that President
Karzai’s office had released a statement noting that the GOP had agreed to hand over Mullah Beradar and other Taliban to
Afghan authorities. During a February 24 tripartite meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller and Afghan Interior
Minister Atmar Hanif, Pakistan Minister of Interior Rehman Malik made no commitment of the GOP handing over to
Afghanistan the Afghan Taliban leaders in question, but agreed to study the issue. The Pakistani delegation asked for
the “deportation” of Baloch separatists, including Bramdagh Bugti. Malik confirmed to Ambassador on February 26 that the
GOP, in fact, has made no such assurances of Beradar’s transfer. End Summary.
The LHC Steps Intervenes in Beradar Case
2. (C) The Lahore High Court (LHC) on February 26 reportedly issued an order barring the extradition of Mullah Beradar
and four other individuals named in a February 25 petition brought forward by Khalid Khawaja challenging their
detention. Khawaja, the Chief Coordinator of the Defense Human Rights Commission, filed a petition dated February 25 in
the LHC calling on the Government of Pakistan to treat the detained Afghan Taliban accordance with law in the interest of justice, equity and conscience8 and asks that it refuse any transfer of the
individuals named in the petition. Khawaja heavily cited various media reports about Beradar’s capture as evidence
supporting his petition. (Note: Khawaja is currently defending the five Americans arrested in Sargodha and is known to
be a pro-extremist activist and lawyer. End Note)
3. (U) Khawaja claims that the detention of the Taliban Afghan in Pakistani custody is against the law, violating
Article 4, 10, and 11 of the Constitution. He argues that the individuals have not been brought before any court, that
they have not been provided with the grounds for their arrest, and that they have not had access to counsel of their
choice. Khawaja further charges that the by the US agencies and investigation by them is against the provisions of the Constitution and humiliation of the
sovereignty of the state.8
4. (U) In the petition, Khawaja asks the LHC to “restrain” the GOP from over or escorting the detenus/accused...to America, Afghanistan or any other country as they are to be tried, if need
be, under law of the land.8 Khawaja further pleads that the detainees be produced before the courts, that any
investigation of the detainees should be done independently of the or any other foreign intelligence agency,8 that the FBI and other American officials be restrained from interfering in
Pakistan’s affairs, and that the grounds for the arrest of the individuals in question be produced.
No GOP Assurances at Tripartite of Beradar Transfer
5. (C) The Beradar arrest was raised at a February 24 tripartite meeting of FBI Director Robert Mueller, Minister Rehman
Malik of the Pakistan Ministry of Interior, and Minister Atmar Hanif of the Afghan Ministry of Interior in Islamabad.
There was no agreement from either side about the transfer of “wanted persons.”
6. (C) In the meeting, Malik provided a list of Pakistan’s Most Wanted to Atmar, and requested the same from Atmar.
Malik named one of the Most Wanted, known Baloch separatist Bramdagh Bugti, and asked Atmar to assist in locating the
individual and returning him to Pakistan. Malik also stated
ISLAMABAD 00000461 002.2 OF 003
that both countries had expressed interest in passing prisoner lists naming the nationals of one country being detained
by the other country. Atmar said his government did not know where the Baloch separatists were located and would need
more information from the GOP to find them.
7. (C) Atmar highlighted that three Afghan Taliban leaders, including Mullah Beradar, had been recently detained in
Pakistan and advised that Afghanistan would be interested in developing a dialogue to have these three deported. Malik
noted that these detainees currently were not pending in the courts, but the he would seek additional information on the
matter. Atmar further advised that pursuant to discussions between Pakistan ISI and Afghan NDS, 38 Afghans were to be
deported/repatriated in the near future, but these Afghans had not been sent back to Afghanistan.
8. (C) The two ministers agreed that, in regards to prisoners, the countries needed to draft an agreement to exchange
prisoners. Malik agreed to provide a prisoner list to Atmar listing the 38 3. In regards to the Most Wanted Lists, the
ministers agreed to share intelligence at the upcoming Focal Point meeting on the “Most Wanted.” Atmar invited the FBI
to participate in these discussions and work with both countries on the efforts to locate the “Most Wanted” persons.
Director Mueller accepted the invitation and pledged the FBI’s full support.
9. (C) Director Mueller strongly suggested that, as the two countries moved forward, the “prisoner” and “Most Wanted”
lists should not be made public. He urged both Minister Atmar and Minister Malik to restrain from comments to the press
(advice which was apparently ignored). The names on the lists could be key to sensitive investigations and making the
names public might jeopardize investigations, the FBI Director explained.
Malik Denies GOP Agreement to Transfer Beradar
10. (C) Given all the confusing press reporting, Ambassador contacted Minster Rehman Malik in Dubai on February 26 to
ask if there was anything conveyed to the Afghans about deporting Taliban, apart from the discussion in the trilateral
meeting in which she, Ambassador Eikenberry and many others had participated. Malik firmly denied that there had been
any agreement to extradite or deport Mullah Beradar or any of the other Taliban leaders.
11. (C) Malik claimed Atmar had jumped the gun to the press with his suggestion that some agreement had been reached.
Malik said he had told the press that Pakistan would consider a request to deport Beradar and the others if they in fact
received such a request. Malik said Pakistan had its “own procedures to follow” and they had to be “sure Beradar hadn’t
committed any crimes in Pakistan.” Malik said he had talked to General Pasha (Ambassador pressed him on this point), and
Malik claimed he would not have failed to “coordinate” with everyone in his government.
12. (C) Ambassador asked Interior Secretary (Deputy Minister), Qamar Zaman, the same question on February 26. He was
fairly certain that the only exchange on this issue was the one conducted in the February 24 tripartite meeting. He
speculated that Minister Atmar might have been under pressure from his local press to put a positive spin on the
13. (C) Comment: The tripartite meeting was a follow up to the earlier May 2009 meeting in Washington. It made progress
on a number of fronts, which will be reported septel. But the issue of “wanted persons” dominated the press play after
the meeting. Rehman Malik was at pains to convince us that no deal had been made with the Afghans.
14. (C) Comment Cont’d: As most of our readers know, the presence of Baloch separatists Bramdagh Bugti in Afghanistan
has long been a neuralgic one with the GOP, particularly with the GOP military. Accordingly, post believes Øthat we
should watch out for consideration of some type of exchange of Berader with Bugti. But we do not believe that the
ISLAMABAD 00000461 003.2 OF 003
government, especially those who control Berader’s fate--Kayani and Pasha--would willingly lose control of such a huge
potential propaganda pawn in Beradar. While Bugti may be a core issue at some political level, the “truths” Berader
could tell about ISI, not to mention a host of other Pakistani notables, likely outweigh any potential wins in bringing
Bugti to Pakistani justice.
15. (C) Comment Cont’d: To state the obvious, the consistent press leaks in the media about American intelligence
operations in the U.S. have lots of unexpected consequences. Most obviously, press leaks enabled the highly
unpredictable and anti-American Lahore High Court to issue a judgment decrying the presence of U.S. intelligence agents
in the Berader case. End Comment. PATTERSON