Call to allow candidates favouring independence in AJK polls
7 July 2006
New York: An international rights group on Friday urged Pakistan government to let pro-independence candidates run in next week’s Legislative Assembly election in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Officials have rejected nomination papers of several candidates, barring them from the July 11 polls. According to a press release, the New-York-based Human Rights Watch called upon Pakistan to amend the laws which barred pro- independence candidates from taking part in the political process and to allow them to freely contest the polls. “The electoral law undermines Kashmiris’ basic political rights by barring them from seeking office if they oppose Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. He said that people favouring independence invited the ire of intelligence agencies and military, and they risked being beaten and jailed. The demand from Human Rights Watch came after authorities in Muzaffarabad rejected nomination papers from two political parties because they advocate independence.