Gilgit Baltistan: The land of atrocities

Qayoom Khan (BNF) appearing before ATC Gilgit. Safdar Ali, who
spent 6 months behind bars also seen
Gilgit Baltistan, the land of atrocities, where hundreds of political leaders and rights defenders are facing state brutalities besides fabricated cases for 3 decades. Ironically, there seems no improvement in the situation and the rights abuses go on unabated in the disputed territory. There are a number of political activists who are still behind bars for raising voice for the rights of the two million disenfranchised people of Gilgit Baltistan. Syed Haider Shah Rizvi, one of the most prominent nationalist leaders from Skardu, passed away while defending himself in one such concocted case.

Manzoor Parwana, chairman, Gilgit Baltistan United Movement (GBUM), was booked in a treason case on July 28, 2011, and after the passage of about five years this case is still progressing at a snail's pace. The state is deliberately trying to delay the case to torture him financially and mentally. Mr Parwana is charged with putting the security of the country at a stake by demanding the reopening of the ancient trade route Skardu to Kargil to re-join the divided families across Loc.

Progressive youth leader Baba Jan and Iftikhar Karbalai have been awarded life
Baba Jan was being appeared before ATC which granted
him lifetime imprisonment
imprisonment after being booked under the anti-terrorism act for raising voice and leading rallies for the rights of the people displaced by the Attabad Lake. They are at the moment languishing in the district jail of Gilgit.
A leader of the Ghizer Youth Congress, Tahir Ali Tahir, has also been booked in another treason case for struggling to ensure the basic rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Another treason case is under adjudication in the chief court of Gilgit Baltistan against Karakorum National Movement chief Javed Hussain , Mumtaz Nagri, Taaruf Abbas and their colleagues. The Balor Research Forum leaders Engineer Amanullah and Sulatan Madad , Right activist Hidayatuualh Akhtar, GBJM Chairman Shujaat Ali, Secretary General GBDA Burhan Ullah , AWP leader Wajid Ali, GBNM
Col. Nadir Hassan, Safdar Ali, Iftikhar Hussain and other spent
six months behind bars.
Chairman Dr. Ghulam Abbas and dozens of others political activists are also booked in sedition charges. They are charged on speaking in a conference on the issue of Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir.

The, scores of political activists and nationalist leaders including Col retired Nadir Khan, Safdar Ali, Iftikhar Hussain, Waseem and others were rounded up by the police and put in jail for trying to hand over a memorandum to the UN observers in the city regarding the public reservations over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor last year in Gilgit. Recently Muhammad Qayoom of Balawaristan National Front was sent to prison, participating in a public protest on the boundary issue with KPK.

It is very disturbing to note that most of these political activists and rights defenders were booked under the anti-terrorism act and treated as terror suspects for raising voice for the rights of the people of the region.

Article by Manzoor Parwana