Red Book — a poorly knitted document
The world of Pakistani bureaucracy is a maze riddled with red tapes. A day long investigation to get a copy of the latest Federal Investigation Agency’s Red Book left one no closer than at the start.
But those who are lucky enough to get hold of a copy are none the wiser – so poorly has it been put together.
For the uninitiated, the Red Books are documents prepared by the FIA on human traffickers and high-profile terrorists based on lists compiled by provincial departments. The last edition of the Red Book came out in mid-2012 and according to officials within the FIA the 2013 edition is in the process of being finalized as well.
The Red Book’s profile is simple: there is a picture or space for a picture where one is unavailable, the name and parentage, the cases against the accused and the police stations where the FIRs were registered, a brief criminal bio and a lengthy list of physical traits filled out inconsistently.
The format and profile information of many offenders have not been changed nor updated in successive editions, and hence forensically inadequate.
For instance, in the 2009 edition of the Red Book available online, the profile of Salman alias Shani, a terrorist involved in an attack on General Pervez Musharraf, includes a picture of a young looking man who is clean shaven and wearing a coat. However, his description states “moustache: long”, “beard: long” and “attire: shalwar kameez and a fair cap”.
Similarly, where the pictures are of a poor quality and blurry, the agencies have no sketches of how these terrorists will look in different disguises.
Entries such as Abdullah alias Saddam, who was involved in the PAF Kamra Air base attack in 2008 and earlier the assassination attempt on Benazir Bhutto in 2007 have no face or description.
No less vague is the information available for Syed Asif Hussain Zaidi alias Qureshi who is implicated in 13 cases. A “dangerous terrorist” of the Sipaha-e-Mohammad Pakistan (SMP) and once employed as a driver in the Iranian Consulate Karachi, his profile carries no picture or sketch. In his details, his facial features are “chin: long, moustaches: average, beard: like a Bihari.”
Then there is Muhammad Rashid alias Hasan Mota who is affiliated with SMP and Pasban-e-Islam and is absconding in Iran. His moustache is described as “average” and his way of talking as “speaks on non-serious matters.”
And if you wonder which of your friends (or enemy) can fit this description, there is also Gul Zareen an associate of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi whose “gait is normal”.
Surprisingly, all men who facilitated the Mumbai attackers make an appearance in the book but at the same time the current TTP leadership such as Hakimullah Mehsud is missing from the 2012 edition.
The Red Book is also silent about Mansoor alias Chota Ibrahim and Omar Aqdas, who gained notoriety when a collective head money of Rs 6.5 crores was announced for them in 2004 along with three other terrorists Matiur Rehman, Amjad Hussain, and Qari Ehsan.
Matiur Rehman is wanted by the law-enforcement agencies for his role in the suicide attack on General Musharraf and the Karachi Sheraton Hotel bomb blast besides other cases, and has been on the run for the last eight years.
And perhaps the last is the reason that the government is reluctant to go public with the document: there is no way of ascertaining progress from one year to the next to see how many offenders have been nabbed and how many are at large.
It was also very strange that officials within the provincial CID and the FIA repeatedly stress the confidential nature of the book.
“The book is not given to members of the public or press that easily,” one official said as phone calls were referred from Administration to Establishment to Statistics and finally Immigration.
Clearly, these security obsessed officials were not aware that a 2009 edition of the book is available online complete with details and the head money offers on the FIA’s official website (www.fia.gov.pk). However, the title page carries the words “Restricted” but fortunately the government that can restrict the access to Youtube does not limit the access to this ‘restricted’ links.
When it came to provincial police departments, Punjab and Balochistan also carry lists of proclaimed offenders and terrorists on their websites.
Whereas on the police websites of Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad Capital Territory, the links either do no exist, if they do they are expired, and when they happen to be working, they take you to a blurry uploaded file.
However, no government or provincial police department carried information about these wanted criminals post-2010.
Even the information pre and during 2010 is very basic: against the names of the accused is the FIR number, the police station where the FIR was registered, the head money and a photograph. It is not indicated when or how old the photograph is and for those unaware about the various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code, there is no way of knowing the cases or crimes the offenders were involved in.
In any case, that pretty much laid to rest insistence on the “secrecy” around the document.
Perhaps some one should tell them that in the West the policy is to update the list of high-profile proclaimed offenders or “most-wanted” on FBI and CIA websites so that members of the public can help track down these criminals.
The updated 2012 edition is not available though officials claim that there is little new in the more recent editions. May be it would do them well to sit down and put together profiles that would help investigations rather than be mere records of a criminal.
|A lengthy list surmised the endless possibilities of male facial hair
Beard: Long and black
Beard: According to Sunnah
Beard: Dark thick beard in the tradition of Shariah which he cleans sometimes
Beard: small arrow style
Beard: Thick and flat against the face
|Expletives (catch phrases) used by some terrorists|
1. Abbay chal bay
2. Jee jee
3. Abbay lalloo