Pakistan
15.10.02
Urgent Interventions

Pakistan: construction of the Mangla Dam extension, risk of eviction and police repression

ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS CONCERN
Case PAK 151002. ESCRC


The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Pakistan.


Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Asian Human Right Commission, a member of the OMCT network, of a police assault against peaceful demonstrators that occurred on September 30th 2002 in Mirpur, a city in the Pakistani controlled areas of Kashmir.

According to the information received, on September 30th 2002, Pakistani police forces attacked un-armed civilian demonstrators with baton and tear gas. The demonstrators were holding a peaceful protest in Mirpur against the building of the Mangla Dam extension.

It is reported that 13 persons were arrested and are still in prison, while others were injured and taken to the local hospital. According to the information received, Raja Ali Zaman, the Secretary General of the Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party (JKNAP), who was leading the anti dam extension movement is among the persons who were arrested and was reportedly also injured during these events. Moreover, paramilitary groups were reportedly called in and most of Mirpur city was put under curfew following the incident.

According to the information received, the peaceful demonstration was organized by JKNAP, Jammu Kashmir National Students Federation (JKNSF), Anti-Dam Extension Committee and All Parties National Alliance (APNA). The demonstration, which was being organized to coincide with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf’s visit to the area in order to lay the foundation stone for the building of the Mangla Dam extension was intended to denounce the displacement of 90’000 to 100’000 people as a result of the construction project.


Background information
It is reported that the dam, which is to be extended was forcibly constructed under the first military dictator of Pakistan, Gen. Ayyub Khan, on the disputed territory of Jammu Kashmir between 1960 and 1967. According to the information received, after a lapse of 40 years, some 10 thousand families out of those who were evicted and displaced for the building of the dam are still displaced. The extension of the dam would reportedly cause the further eviction of 90’000 to 100’000 people, whose rehabilitation has not being thought of and arranged before the extension work had been started.
According to the information received, the Government proposed a compensation plan for the affected people, but the plan was rejected by the Anti-Dam Extension Committee on the grounds that the compensation was insufficient. Moreover, it is reported that Pakistani Government has absolutely ignored all appeals and requests and announced the inauguration of the project unilaterally on 30th September 2002. In reaction, JKNAP and JKNSF, along with the Anti-Dam Committee, announced the protest march on 30th September 2002.

Action Requested

Please write to the Pakistani authorities urging them to:

i. order the immediate release of the persons detained in connection with these events, in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times;

ii. guarantee an immediate investigation into the circumstances of these events, identify those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial civil tribunal and apply the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

iii. stop the building of an extension to the dam until a rehabilitation plan has been agreed for the displaced people;

iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.


Addresses

· General Pervez Musharraf, Chief Executive of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Prime Minister House, Islamabad, Pakistan, Email: CE@pak.gov.pk, Fax: +92-51-9201893 / +92-51-9201835 / +92-51-9204632 / + 92 51 922 4768

. Mr. Khalid Ranjha, The Federal Minister, Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights, S-Block, Pak Secretariat, Islamabad, Pakistan, Email: molaw1@comsats.net.pk, Fax: +92-51-9202628


Geneva, October 15, 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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