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VI. Recommendations

To the Government of Pakistan:

  1. Order the immediate withdrawal of the paramilitary force, the Pakistan Rangers, from Okara district and ensure that the Rangers and their personnel play no role relating to the conflict there or in other affected districts.  Turn over responsibility for policing to the Punjab police.
  1. Appoint a senior and respected outside police official with no connection to the land dispute to oversee the policing of Okara and other affected districts.
  1. Immediately remove—from any role relating to the conflict in Okara—all Pakistan Rangers personnel and Punjab police personnel implicated in serious violations of human rights.
  1. Reinstate all employees of Okara Military Farms and others unfairly dismissed from employment.
  1. Withdraw immediately all criminal cases registered against farmers from the affected districts absent a sound factual basis for the charges brought against them. 
  1. Investigate fully allegations of violations of Pakistani and international human rights law committed in the context of the Punjab land dispute. Suspend all officials against whom there is prima facie evidence of misconduct.  Prosecute all officials, members of the armed forces, and police personnel implicated in serious abuses, including extra-judicial executions; kidnappings; torture; extortion and other ill-treatment, including “forced divorces.”  
  1. Ensure that all Pakistan Rangers personnel deployed in Okara and other civilian areas, at every level, have received basic training in the fundamental principles of human rights law.  Ensure that all law-enforcement personnel deployed in all affected districts, at every level, have received basic training in such principles.
  1. Recognize the procedural rights of all persons detained or accused of crimes.  Hold all detainees only in officially recognized places of detention.  Inform all detainees immediately of the grounds of arrest and any charges against them.  Provide all detainees with immediate and regular access to family members and lawyers.  Detainees must promptly be brought before a judge to review the legality of their detention.
  1. Make publicly available regularly updated figures on the number of individuals charged and arrested in the affected districts, with information on the nature of their alleged crimes and the places of their detention.
  1. End the practice of “besieging” towns and villages and imposing unlawful restraints on freedom of movement and free expression.
  1. Ensure that human rights organizations and journalists have free access to all affected districts and allow them to carry out investigations and fact-finding missions free from intimidation or interference by military and paramilitary authorities.
  1. Respect press freedom and allow full independent coverage of both past and ongoing events in the affected districts.  Remove informal prohibitions on direct news gathering and reporting by the Pakistani and foreign media.
  1. Invite the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit the area of dispute, conduct investigations, and make appropriate recommendations.

To Donors and other International Actors:

  1. Donors and trading partners of Pakistan should use every available opportunity to press for an end to military impunity.  They should urge respect for international due process and fair trial standards and should press for impartial inquiries into, and accountability for, cases of illegal detention and custodial ill-treatment.  The behavior documented in this report in one part of Punjab takes place in all Pakistani provinces and within all security and law enforcement agencies.

  1. Bilateral donors and international lending agencies, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, should insist that the government of Pakistan commit itself to providing training in human rights law and norms to all law-enforcement personnel, particularly its paramilitary forces.

  1. Donors to the rural sector in Pakistan should strongly condemn human rights violations suffered by farmers and should insist that immediate measures be taken to allow farmers to earn their livelihood without fear of violence.  They should closely monitor Pakistan’s stated commitment in its Poverty Reduction Strategy to address administration of justice issues, and urge that the government focus particularly on ending military impunity.

  1. In the proposed Rural Development Policy Review cited in the World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy, the Bank should raise the issue of the military’s control over land through force, and the impact it has on farmers’ livelihoods.

  1. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture should visit Pakistan as soon as possible to press for the immediate end to human rights abuses including widespread torture committed in Okara district by the Rangers and police.

  1. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing should visit Pakistan as soon as possible to press for the immediate end to human rights abuses committed by the Rangers and police in Okara and elsewhere.  The Rapporteur should press the government to amend the Punjab Tenancy Act (1887) so that it is consistent with international standards prohibiting forced eviction and to ensure that tenant farmers, many of whose families have tilled the land for a century, do not face the threat of arbitrary eviction or the use of force and intimidation.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>July 2004