Pakistan's army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Friday ordered a probe into a video footage that purportedly shows a group of soldiers executing six bound and blindfolded young men in civilian clothes.
"Taking notice of video footage showing the cold-blooded execution of civilians by personnel clad in Pakistan Army uniforms, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has ordered the setting up of a board of inquiry to establish the true identity of uniformed personnel and the veracity of the video footage," said a statement issued by the military.
The board of inquiry will be headed by a Major General, a two-star officer of the army, and he will be assisted by two or three senior officers with experience of investigating such incidents.
Necessary technical expertise will be made available to the board, the statement said.
The Pakistan Army has been hit hard after the Western print and electronic media carried reports about the footage, apparently shot with a mobile phone.
In the five-and-a-half-minute video, the six men, some of whom appear to be teenagers, are shown blindfolded and their hands tied behind their backs.
The video appears to have been shot in the Swat valley, where the army conducted a campaign last year to flush out the Taliban.
The six men are lined up near an abandoned building.
As the soldiers prepare to open fire, one of them asks an officer whether they should be shot one by one or together.
The officer replies they should be shot together.
The six men fall to the ground after a heavy burst of gunfire, some of them still alive and moaning in pain. A soldier then fires shots into each man at close range to finish them off.
The New York Times quoted unnamed American officials as saying that the State Department and the Pentagon were reviewing reports that the Pakistan Army has summarily executed prisoners and civilians in areas where they conducted operations against the Taliban.
The statement issued by the Pakistani military said Gen Kayani had referred to his "Command Directive on the issues of human rights and extra-judicial killings, and stated that such violations of his orders, if true, will not be tolerated."
Kayani "categorically stated 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."