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On Oct. 8, 2010, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani announced an inquiry into the matter. He noted the probe would consider if the footage was even real, but also said: “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.”

In the two years since, the Associated Press repeatedly has asked the army about the status of the probe. At most, the answer has been that it’s under way. Attempts to get army comment for this story led nowhere.

Other cases further illustrate the difficulty in holding the army accountable.

A year before the execution videos surfaced, a clip on YouTube and Facebook appeared to show Pakistani soldiers beating and whipping four militant suspects. The army promised to investigate but has never released any findings.

In mid-September, Gen. Kayani announced that the military would take over the investigation and prosecution of three retired generals accused in a financial scam that was being probed by a parliamentary committee. The three were “recalled” into the army, apparently so they could be shielded from civilian courts.

And then there’s the “Abbottabad commission,” the panel tasked with finding out what bin Laden was doing in Pakistan and what led to the May 2011 U.S. raid that killed him. The panel’s creation was hailed because it was technically independent of the military.

But its report has been repeatedly delayed, and if it is ever released, many doubt anyone in the security establishment will be held to account — at least not in public.