Intelligence agencies interfering in AJK affairs, says HRCP
20 July 2004
The Daily Times
Islamabad: Pakistani intelligence agencies are heavily involved and influential in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).Hina Jilani, general secretary of the HRCP, said the preliminary findings of an HRCP fact-finding mission to the AJK were that the intelligence agencies of Pakistan interfered in AJK affairs.During a four-day stay in AJK, the HRCP team met the president, prime minister and other officials of the AJK government, as well as people from other sections of society, she said. 'The mission met people during its trip to the AJK and they said that the Pakistan Army even used school buildings and other government buildings for its purposes,' Ms Jilani said.She said though the people of AJK trusted the judiciary, which was a positive sign, several people had complained that the intelligence agencies occasionally influenced judges. 'Some people also told the mission that the intelligence agencies picked up people,' she added. 'Every Kashmiri wants India and Pakistan to consult the Kashmiri people living on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) before reaching a decision regarding the Kashmir dispute,' she said. Ms Jilani said that there was great uncertainty among the people of AJK regarding the future of Kashmir. 'But the mission finds that the majority of people of AJK support the ongoing peace process between Pakistan and India,' she added. Ms Jilani said people who supported an independent Kashmir were suppressed, though the number of these people was less than the number who wanted Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan.'The ceasefire between India and Pakistan was welcomed by the Kashmiri people, especially the people living on the LoC,' she said. 'The people of the Neelam Valley were particularly relieved after the ceasefire because the continuous shelling by the Indian forces made their life miserable.'Ms Jilani said the AJK had had a sustainable system of governance since 1985, which had resulted in political actors with strong commitment to the political process. 'But the people of the AJK were of the view that the election process was manipulated by the Pakistan government, military and bureaucracy,' she added. She said the AJK government was not completely autonomous. 'Foreign affairs, currency and defence are controlled by Pakistan,' she said.Ms Jilani said the top four officials in AJK - the inspector general of police, chief secretary, accountant general and finance secretary - were always nominated by Pakistan. She said that the literacy rate in AJK was between 50 and 60 percent, but the quality of education was not good. She said that the literacy rate among Kashmiri women was also higher than in some neighbouring countries. She said the health sector in the AJK was very poor. She said no law existed in the AJK for the protection of children. On the issue of freedom of the press, she said that the HRCP mission found that journalists were not able to get proper salaries and they worked under pressure from the intelligence agencies and jihadi outfits.