Court martial to six army personnel including a colonel-rank officer has been confirmed by army’s northern command GOC in the 2012 Machil fake encounter case. All of them are sentenced to life imprisonment.
Spokesman of the army’s Udhampur-based Northern Command Colonel S.D. Goswami said, “General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C), Northern Command, Lieutenant General D.S. Hooda has confirmed the sentence of a Summary General Court Martial in the Machil encounter case. Colonel Dinesh Pathania, Captain Upendra, Havildar Devendra Kumar, Lance Naik Lakhmi, Lance Naik Arun Kumar and Rifleman Abbas Hussain have been sentenced to life imprisonment.”
In April 2012, the army had claimed killing three guerrillas in Machil sector on the Line of Control in Kupwara district during an infiltration bid. There was a huge public outrage after photographs of those killed in the alleged encounter were released.
Relatives and neighbours of the slain persons alleged the army for framing and killing three civilians in a planned gunfight. They claimed that none of them were connected with militancy in any way.
Later the allegations were proved correct tin a police investigation. In a fake encounter, the three civilians were lured with promises of jobs and taken to the border where they were killed by the six army men for money and rewards.
The army later ordered a general court martial that found all the six army personnel guilty.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani and visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan have agreed to set up a joint border “reaction force” to counter terrorism, Iranian state media reported.
“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rohani was quoted as saying on April 22 during a joint press conference with Khan, who was officially welcomed in the Iranian capital earlier in the day.
The announcement comes following tensions between the two countries who have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.
“Pakistan will not allow any militant group to operate” from its soil, Khan said at the press conference while adding that the problem of terrorism was “increasing differences” between both countries.
“So it was very important for me to come here and come with our security chief that we resolve this issue,” Khan said.
Citing a militant attack on Pakistani security forces in Baluchistan on April 18, he said, Pakistan’s security chief will be meeting his Iranian counterpart on April 22 to discuss how both countries can cooperate in not allowing their soil to be used by militant groups.
Stressing that “no third country” could harm Iran-Pakistan ties, an apparent reference to the United States, Rohani said Tehran was ready to boost trade and business ties with Islamabad.
For his part, Khan said his visit to Tehran aimed to “find ways to increase trade and cooperation…in energy and other areas,” noting that two-way trade was “very limited.”
Khan arrived in Iran on April 21 on his first official visit to the Islamic republic for talks set to focus on strengthening bilateral ties, “fighting terrorism, and safeguarding borders,” Iranian state media reported.
The two countries have in recent months accused each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.
The two-day trip started with a stopover in the holy city of Mashhad, where Khan visited the shrine of Imam Reza, who is revered by Shi’ite Muslims.
The visit comes a day after Pakistan asked Iran to take action against terrorist groups believed to be behind the killing of 14 Pakistani soldiers earlier this month.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on April 20 that 15 gunmen wearing military uniforms ambushed a bus in southwestern Balochistan Province on April 18, killing 14 Pakistani Army personnel.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a letter to the Iranian government that the assailants came from an alliance of three Baluch terrorist organizations based in Iran.
Qureshi told reporters that Khan would take up the matter with Iranian authorities.
Earlier this year, Iran called on Pakistan to take action against a militant group behind a deadly attack on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).