By Moin Ansari
It is disgusting to hear that General Hood, the monster of Gitmo is now in the US Embassy in Islamabad. Is he the proposed person to take charge of the Nuclear Command of Pakistan?
The new government with its tall claims of sovereignty and rhetoric on the supremacy of parliament has not brought this issue to be discussed in parliament. In fact no major issues have been discussed in parliament at all regarding Hood’s appointment on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Ishtiaq Baig.
Guantanamo Bay is a place where prisoners have no right of appeal against the punishment meted out to them. It is a place where the investigators are all American soldiers, even defence attorneys; prosecutors and judges are all soldiers. In short it is like a jungle and the American army is the king of this jungle.
It is a prison full of unimaginable stories. The jail has standard six-by-six rooms whose walls, door, floor, toilet, washbasin and so on are all made of steel. The rooms have no windows to let in sunlight or fresh air. In short, it is an iron grave and hundreds of Muslims are kept there leading a life worse than death. Even today there are about 65 Pakistani prisoners living at the edge of life in miserable conditions.
One inmate by the name of Shafiq Rasool has said that inmates are not even allowed to attend to the call of nature and many times they would have to relieve themselves in their clothes. Besides, there have been many instances where Islam and the Holy Quran have been insulted by the American soldiers. He has also said that if inmates tried to recite the Holy Quran in a loud voice then his mouth would be taped. One Pakistani businessman by the name of Saud Memon was kept at Guantanamo Bay for a long time and badly tortured. When it was realized that he was near death, he was sent off to Pakistan – and he died soon after returning to his home.
In addition to this, it has been reported in a recent investigative book on the prison that one female member of the jail staff actually cleaned her menstruation blood with a prisoner’s dress in order to disable that man from offering his prayers.
In this context, the recent posting to Pakistan of Major-General J W Hood as the US army’s representative at the American Embassy in Islamabad is an insult to all Pakistanis. General Hood was in charge of Guantanamo Bay at the same time its Muslim prisoners were tortured and the Holy Quran desecrated. He was heavily criticized in the American press for the inhuman torture that took place during his time there and much of this criticism appeared in such respectable and mainstream publications as the Washington Post.
After such reports in the American press, investigations by the Pentagon revealed that at least five incidents of desecrating the Holy Quran occurred during the tenure of General Hood at Guantanamo Bay. In his defence, he said that these incidents were all unintentional. When criticism of his appointment to Pakistan followed the report of his posting, the US explained it all by saying that the general’s posting to Islamabad had nothing to do with his service at Guantanamo Bay. In fact, it said, that his appointment reflects the level of cooperation between the two countries because he was a senior officer of the US army.
It is sad for Pakistan that America has nominated such a controversial person as its defence representative, one whose uniform is stained with the blood of Muslims. Under international law, Pakistan has the right to refuse the appointment of such a controversial person. Now that the new democratic government has come into office, perhaps Islamabad should request Washington to review its decision and in fact should tell it that it will not accept General Hood. We may not have been able to stop General Hood from desecrating the Holy Quran but we can at least stop him from coming to our country.