Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baba Jan released from Gilgit jail


Political activists welcome Baba Jan after his release
 GILGIT: Baba Jan, federal youth secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) and chief organiser for the Progressive Youth Front, Gilgit, has been released after nearly a year in jail. His bail was accepted on September 15 in the last of the charges registered against him.

Baba Jan was warmly welcomed outside the jail gates by the supporters and members of LPP and local nationalist parties who raised slogans like "Baba Jan, zinda bad", "Long live the struggle of the people", "Long live international solidarity.

Last week, the Pakistan Senate committee on human rights called the chief secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan to ask for an explanation of why Baba Jan was tortured and kept in jail. The chief secretary was rebuffed by Afrasayab Khatak, chair of the Senate committee, when he termed Baba Jan an "anti-state activist". Afrasayab Khatak told the chief secretary to stop telling bullshit to him. He told the top bureaucrat of Gilgit that he has heard a lot of these allegations and that he was himself at one time had been declared as being anti-state. Afrasayab Khatak asked for documentary proof of the allegations.

Within few days, Baba Jan got the bail.

In the face of a consistent campaign for Baba Jan's release inside and outside Pakistan the government and the courts had to retreat. Never before had there been demonstrations and actions in 22 countries for any political activist of Gilgit-Baltistan. Never before had there been more than 50 demonstrations and rallies inside Pakistan. Baba Jan was declared a political prisoner by several international organisations including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

"Baba" literally means an old man, but Baba Jan is only 32 years old, an activist with tremendous ability to organise mobilisations; he became a working-class hero in most of the valley and was the most known political activist from Gilgit Baltistan all over Pakistan and internationally.

His message

On his release from jail, Baba Jan asked Comrade Abdul Jalal to convey the following message to all supporters:

1. He wishes to thank all those who have participated in the campaign to secure his release and that of his fellow detained comrades – whether someone signed a petition, wrote a letter, an article, organised or attended a demonstration, a sit-in or a teach-in.

2. We are all learning to campaign more effectively for common causes and this experience will help us in our struggles in the future.

Baba Jan’s supporters in Gilgit-Baltistan have organised a rally from Gilgit City to Aliabad in Hunza Valley, his native region. The rally starts at 12 noon from Col. Hassan Market, Gilgit City.links.org.au


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