ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The chief of the Pakistani Army said Friday that he had ordered an inquiry into an Internet video that shows men in Pakistani military uniforms executing six young men in civilian clothes.The army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said in a statement that a military board would conduct the investigation to determine the authenticity of the five-and-a-half-minute video, which raised concerns about unlawful killings by Pakistani soldiers supported by the United States.General Kayani appeared to take a tough stance on extrajudicial killings, saying in the statement that “it is not expected of a professional army to engage in excesses against the people whom it is trying to guard against the scourge of terrorism.”Violations of army rules against extrajudicial killings, he said, “will not be tolerated.” The statement was released by the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.The graphic video showing the six young men — some of whom appeared to be teenagers, blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs — was initially dismissed by the army as a fake.The American ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson, discussed the video with General Kayani a week ago, and afterward, the Pakistani military acknowledged that it knew about the video and that it was credible, an American official said.
The video’s authenticity has not been formally determined by American officials, but retired American military officers and intelligence analysts said that it appeared to be authentic. Two retired senior Pakistani officers also said that they found the video credible. It was apparently taken in the Swat Valley, where the army opened an offensive against the Taliban last year.The State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, described the images as “horrifying” when they first emerged last week.American law requires that the United States cut off aid to foreign militaries that are found to have committed gross violations of human rights.
That law, known as the Leahy amendment, has been applied in the past to Indonesia and Colombia, but never to a country of such strategic importance to the United States as Pakistan.The Pakistani military has received more than $10 billion from the United States since 2001 for its cooperation in fighting militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban based inside the country.Senior Congressional staff members were briefed Thursday by State Department officials about reports of summary executions by the Pakistani military, the second such briefing in several months. At one point, a Congressional aide told a State Department official that the Obama administration was dragging its feet on pressing the Pakistani Army about the reported killings, according to a person present at the briefing.
The video, apparently taken covertly with a cellphone, shows the six young men being lined up near a building. A burst of gunfire erupts. The men crumple. Some groans are heard, and then a soldier moves in to shoot each body at short range.The video has not been seen on Pakistani television or discussed in the country’s newspapers. The Ministry of Information Technology was ordered by the army to remove the video from some well-known Web sites, an American official said, but it remained available on other sites – Nytimes