VIII. Detailed Recommendations

To the Government of Pakistan

  • Release all individuals imprisoned or detained and withdraw immediately all criminal cases against anyone, including Kashmiri nationalists, for the peaceful expression of their political views, including that Azad Kashmir should be independent.
  • End the practice of arbitrary arrest and detention, other forms of harassment, and torture and other ill-treatment of persons exercising their rights to freedom of expression, including those who peacefully oppose Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan or demand greater autonomy for the territory.
  • Repeal constitutional curbs on freedom of association, expression and assembly in Azad Kashmir so that the constitution and Azad Kashmir law are consistent with international human rights standards.  
  • Prosecute to the full extent of the law and in accordance with international fair trial standards those members of the armed forces, its intelligence agencies, government officials and police personnel implicated in serious violations of human rights, including arbitrary arrests and torture.
  • Respect press freedom and allow full independent coverage of both past and ongoing events in Azad Kashmir. Remove formal and informal prohibitions on news gathering and reporting by the Azad Kashmir and Pakistani media, and accord all journalists full freedom of movement.
  • End the practice of banning books and literature.
  • Ensure that human rights organizations have freedom of movement throughout Azad Kashmir and allow them to carry out investigations and fact-finding missions free from intimidation or interference by military authorities.
  • Ensure free and fair elections in Azad Kashmir. To this end, repeal part 7(2) of the Azad Kashmir Interim Constitutional Act of 1974, which bars from seeking elective office any person or political party in Azad Kashmir that seeks to “propagate against or take part in activities prejudicial or detrimental to the ideology of the State’s accession to Pakistan,” and remove chapter 3, 2(vii) of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly Ordinance 1970, which bars from seeking elective office anyone who “defames or brings into ridicule… the Armed Forces of Pakistan.”
  • Ensure that all members of the armed forces, ISI personnel, and law enforcement personnel deployed in Azad Kashmir, at every level, have received appropriate training in the fundamental principles of human rights law.
  • Investigate allegations of human rights abuses by militant groups based in Azad Kashmir and fully and fairly prosecute those responsible.
  • Respect the due process 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.
  • Make publicly available regularly updated figures on the number of individuals arrested or charged with crimes in Azad Kashmir with information on the nature of their alleged crimes and the places of their detention.
  • Invite the U.N. special rapporteur on torture to visit Azad Kashmir, conduct free and unfettered investigations, and make appropriate recommendations.

To Azad Kashmir-based militant groups

  • When participating in hostilities, take all necessary steps to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law, specifically common article 3 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and customary international humanitarian law.
  • Cease threatening civilians who do not cooperate with or support the activities of militant groups.   
  • Publicly denounce abuses committed by any militant group in Jammu and Kashmir state and call for accountability for such abuses on both sides of the Line of Control.
  • Cease using anti-personnel landmines or otherwise conducting attacks that do not discriminate between military objectives and civilians.
  • Immediately end all recruitment of persons under the age of eighteen and demobilize combatants under age eighteen. All adults recruited before age eighteen must be given the option to leave.
  • Permit civil society organizations to undertake the full range of protection activities including investigations of abuses committed by militants.

To donors and other international actors

  • Use every available opportunity to press for an end to impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses, including members of the military, intelligence agencies, police and militant groups. Urge respect for international due process and fair trial standards and press for impartial inquiries into, and accountability for, cases of arbitrary detention and torture and other ill-treatment in detention.
  • 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 military forces in Azad Kashmir.
  • Donors should provide assistance, through government agencies and NGOs, to promote the administration of justice.
  • Ensure contracts for earthquake reconstruction are handled through proper procurement procedures that allow bidding by private agencies, and not just military entities.
  • Ensure independent auditing of relief funds and materials to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • Ensure greater civilian oversight of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.  Aid should be handled through a process that involves the Azad Kashmir government, as well as local, national and international NGOs, and civil society groups, particularly those working in the field.