JKCHR Seeks Supreme Court Intervention on Rights of Earthquake Victims

Press Release
27th October 2005, London

Jammu and Kashmir Council For Human Rights (JKCHR) has asked the Supreme Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir to take action in `public Interest' and take cognizance of the failings of the two administrations identified in the constitution Act 1974 of Azad Kashmir and secure to the people of Jammu and Kashmir a `duty to fairness' of the two administrations of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan.

In a public interest communication addressed to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Azad Kashmir JKCHR Secretary General Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani has urged the Supreme Court to intervene in the plural interests of the earthquake victims in the same manner in which the supreme court of Pakistan has intervened to protect the rights of 140 families of Margalla Tower that collapsed in Oct 8 earthquake. The court has ordered the CDA to provide accommodation temporarily to the displaced families by hiring residences of equal status as they were occupying in Margalla Tower .

JKCHR public interest communication has pointed out that there can be no duality and discrimination between the earth quake victims in Pakistan or in Azad Kashmir. The welfare of all victims should be looked at in equity and in good faith.

JKCHR communication says that the Supreme Court should also look at the report of UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food which warns the international organizations and governments that "With power must come responsibility."

The public interest communication adds that "It is unfortunate that the Government of Pakistan wound up the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Red Crescent Society (Red Cross) a body which specialises in `Disaster Preparedness' and can go universal in its appeal in the event of a natural disaster or a war through the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies headquartered in Geneva."

JKCHR communication maintains that traces of pro-active human involvement in the loss of life in the Indian administered Kashmir and negligence of duty on the Pakistani side of Kashmir , although in varying degrees could be found and as such cause a criminal liability of the actors involved.

The communication points out that "Our people are still under the rubble, dead and alive, and they are still unaccessed in many villages in the remote areas of Azad Kashmir. They could have been saved if we had small link roads, link helipads, local medical facilities and durable telecommunication system." And if Berlin airlift was possible in 1940 to keep people alive, it is much more easier to keep people alive in Azad Kashmir in 2005.

JKCHR communication points out that "Unfortunately AJ & K administration has emerged as corrupt and anaesthetised. Our prime minister is sitting put in a `tent' and has no role in crisis management. The earthquake has shown that Azad Kashmir still lives in the Dogra days of 1846. The area however has been exposed to the notice of international camera.

Pakistan should not have declined the Indian offer of helicopters or of humanitarian aid to access parts of Kashmir which are on the side of Pakistan . Indian military, in particular its medical and humanitarian segments, could have entered the disaster stricken areas more quickly and with better results. Indian army is already in Kashmir and Pakistan has continued to concede to this fact through its bilateral agreement of Tashkent and Shimla and in other agreements at the UN. Indian and Pakistan army medical and relief teams could very easily be commanded by UNMOGIP Chief Major-General Guido Palmieri of Italy .

JKCHR Secretary General has urged that although, "it is a natural disaster but it has human error and human negligence embedded in it", therefore he has requested that JKCHR communication should be entertained as a complaint in `public Interest'. He has asked to take cognizance of the failings of the two administrations identified in the constitution Act 1974 of Azad Kashmir and secure to the people of Jammu and Kashmir a `duty to fairness' of the two administrations."


Notes to Editors

JKCHR - Jammu and Kashmir Council For Human Rights, is a non profit making NGO. It was established in 1984 and is in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. It has regional offices on either side of LOC in Kashmir .

The NGO assists victims of Human Rights violations and promotes respect for human rights in all the three administrations of Kashmir . It was elected to represent the Unrepresented Peoples and Nations of the world at UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in June 1993.

JKCHR works in partnership with Muslim Women's Aid (MWA) and Women For Peace and Education (WPE).

For further information please contact: Jammu and Kashmir Council For Human Rights on Tel: 0771 4846431 or 0208 651 0600 or 0208 640 8630 Fax: 0208 651 0071 Email: info@jkchr.com Website: http://jkchr.com


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