Posted by: daniellesabai | 2011/09/22

Violent Repression in the North of Pakistan. For the Release of Baba Jan and other Prisoners!

Pierre Rousset

A solidarity campaign is underway (see below the statement) in defence of Baba Jan, a leader of the LPP – the Labour Party Pakistan – and other people imprisoned in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, in the north of Pakistan. Baba Jan, according to information from the LPP, was tortured for two days by the secret service.

For more than a month, progressive activists have suffered violent repression in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, the Himalayan “Territories of the North”. Last August 11, the police fired live bullets against people demanding payment of compensation allowances following a devastating landslide which had happened a year before in the valley of Hunza, on July 4, 2010. This landslide caused very big floods and the formation of a vast lake; this destroyed many dwellings and a transport route that is essential for local trade with China. The villagers accuse the administration of having abandoned them and of having pocketed the allowances due to 25 of the 457 affected families.

The villagers demonstrated on August 11, on the occasion of the arrival of the minister for the province. The police force killed in cold blood Afzal Baig (22 years old), then his father, Sher Ullah Baig (50 years old) who sought to protect him. In reaction, the following day, the population of Aliabad and other localities of Hunza rose up, clashing with the police, setting fire to a police station and the Deputy Commissioner’s office. For four days, the population took control of the city.

To calm the population, the authorities wrongfully claimed that prosecutions had begun against the police officers responsible for the killings and granted financial compensation to the grieving families. They took advantage of this to prepare the repression of progressive circles, in order to impose silence on the events of August 11. Thus, a week later, on August 19, 36 people were picked up (including ten members of the LPP, six of them being maintained in detention). A new wave of arrests began on September 16, with 33 more people picked up.

Six members of the LPP were initially imprisoned. Baba Jan, a member of the federal committee of the LPP [1], a leader of the Progressive Youth Front (PYF), was very involved in the popular mobilizations. Thanks to resistance opposed by the PYF to the police force, he had time to escape arrest on August 19. But he was still wanted and was in danger of being summarily executed (“disappeared”) if he was captured, a victim of an “extrajudicial execution”. The area of Gilgit-Baltistan is unfortunately well-known for violations of the human rights by the authorities. Baba Jan thus chose give himself up to the authorities, a month after going underground, not before first holding a press conference so that no one could be unaware of what might happen to him.

Nevertheless, according to information obtained by the LPP, Baba Jan was removed from his cell by the Pakistani secret services – the ISI [2] – then tortured for two days: suspended by ropes, severely beaten for having fought in defence of populations that were victims of climate change! The ISI wanted to make him “confess” that he was responsible for setting fire to the Deputy Commissioner’s office – to which he replied that he had arrived on the spot only later.

If Jan Baba is thus targeted by repression, it is because he played a very active part, with the LPP and the PYF, in making known in Pakistan the scandal of July 4, 2010 and its sequels. Thanks in particular to their action, with press conferences held in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, this issue made it to the front pages of the national press.

The LPP is launching a solidarity campaign for the release of Jan Baba and the other prisoners, and in defence of all the victims of repression. It demands the dropping of the false charges against the demonstrators and effective compensation for all the people affected by the landslide of July 4, 2010. This campaign will be conducted in Pakistan and on the international level. We will give regular reports on it.

Pierre Rousset
September 19, 2011

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), based in Hong Kong, launched last July already an appeal against repression in Gilgit-Baltistan. See:
http://www.urgentappeals.net/suppor…

For the time being, letters of protest can be sent to Pakistani embassies and messages of solidarity can be sent to the LPP (labour_party@ yahoo.com).

To find all the information available on ESSF concerning this question, use the key words (n°7650) JAN Baba and (n°7649) Gilgit Baltestan

The solidarity statement below is opened to signatures. To add a signature, pease send your name/organization to:
politic.ofthepoor@gmail.com

We shall update the list of signatories.


Free Baba Jan and all political prisoners!
Reparations for the victims of police violence!
Reparations for the victims of the landslide of July 4!

Last August 11, Pakistani police used live bullets against people demanding payment of compensation allowances following a devastating landslide which had happened a year before in the valley of Hunza, on July 4, 2010. This landslide, in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan, destroyed several houses and important roads. De local administration abanoned the affected community and pocketed compensation payments intended for several affected families.

When villagers demonstrated on August 11, on the occasion of the arrival of the minister for the province, police responded with lethal violence, killing Afzal Baig (22 years old), and his father, Sher Ullah Baig (50 years old). In reaction, the population of Aliabad and other localities of Hunza rose up, and for four days the population took control of the city. To calm the people, authorities claimed that prosecutions had begun against the police officers responsible for the killings and granted financial compensation to the grieving families. This was only a manouvre to prepare a new wave of repression. On August 19, 36 people were arrested, among them ten members of the Labor Party of Pakistan (LPP), six of whom remain in detention. A new wave of arrests began on September 16, with 33 arrests.

Baba Jan, a member of the federal committee of the LPP and a leader of the Progressive Youth Front, was very involved in the popular protests. He initially escaped arrest on August 19 and went underground. However, he was in danger of being summarily executed (“disappeared”) if found by the police. The area of Gilgit-Baltistan is well-known for violations of Human Rights by the authorities. Baba Jan chose to give himself up to the authorities, a month after going underground, but not before holding a press conference so that no one could be unaware of what might happen to him. According to information obtained by the LPP, Baba Jan was removed from his cell by the Pakistani secret services – the ISI – and tortured for two days: suspended by ropes, and severely beaten.

Jan Baba and others are the targets of repression because they played an important part in making known the scandal of July 4, 2010 and its sequels. The authorities are now using violence and repression to try and cover up their abandonment and cheating of the victims of the July 4 landslide and the killings commited by its police.

We strongly condemn the Pakistani government for using violence, arrest and intimidation as a method to try to silence people’s just demands and the people’s protest against its repressive policies.

We demand:
- That the government of Pakistan immediately and unconditionally releases Baba Jan and all other political prisoners.
- That the government of Pakistan compensates the victims of the July 4 landslide and police violence.
- That the government of Pakistan prosecutes the police and intelligence officials responsible for Human Rights violations.

We call on all socialist and progressive movements and Human Rights organisations, in South East Asia and the world, to give solidarity to the political prisoners and condemn the Human Rights violations commited by the Pakistani securityservices. We fully support the people’s movement in Gilgit-Baltistan in their struggle.

Signed by:

1. People’s Liberation Party of Indonesia
2. The Centre of Student Movement for National Liberation (PEMBEBASAN) Indonesia
3. Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party Philippines)
4.Indonesian Labor Movement of Unity (PPBI)
5. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) / Socialist Party of Malaysia
6. Democratic Association of the Youth (SDK) Philippines
7. Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Woman) Indonesia
8. Nouveau Party Anticapitaliste (NPA – New AntiCapitalist Party), France
9.

Note: to support this statement. Please send your name/organization to:
politic.ofthepoor@gmail.com

Follow updates of the struggle in
https://www.facebook.com/groups/124…

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