Mon, 18 Jan 2021

Gilgit Baltistan [PoK], November 28 (ANI): Political activist Baba Jan, who was released on Friday after a decade of unlawful imprisonment by Pakistani authorities, thanked people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and rights activists for holding protests for his release and said he would have been still in jail if people did not "fight" for him.

Speaking to mediapersons after his release, Jan said: "I want to thank all the people of Gilgit Baltistan, people of Pakistan and right activist who stood by me all these years. It is because of there efforts that I have been released otherwise I would have been still in jail. I want to thank people who did not forget me when I was imprisoned and fought for me to ensure my freedom."Jan was released on November 27 after years of protests by people of Gilgit Baltistan. The Imran Khan government was forced to surrender before the people of Pakistan occupied region after Pakistan was slammed and isolated by various international organisations at several platforms for human rights violations.

Baba Jan, a prominent local activist and leader was serving a 90-year sentence on trumped-up charges.

He along with two other youth activists from Hunza, Amir Khan and Iftekhar Hussain, were convicted in August 2011 by an anti-terrorism court for participating in a mass movement against the inaction of the government during the Attabad incident.

Time and again, political activists from Gilgit Baltistan have raised the issue of Baba Jan and other political activists at international platforms, including the United Nations, but Islamabad has been suppressing people under Schedule-IV of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Baba Jana's case is a stark reminder of the sorry state of human rights in the region where an activist and political worker had to face a life sentence for campaigning against injustice and state oppression.

According to Pakistani media reports, sources say that an agreement was reached between the protestors in Hunza a month ago for the release of the political prisoners.

A case was filed against him for raising the issue of illegal allotment of marble mines to Chinese companies in Nasirabad valley of Hunza.

Pressure by the United Nations and various other forums globally has worked for the release of the activists. This comes as a defeat for Pakistan Army which has used Gilgit Baltistan as a colony to suppress common people.

Pakistan was forced to release political prisoner Baba Jan of Gilgit Baltistan as there have been protests by activists but gained momentum in October as protestors questioned the draconian law under which the activists have been arrested, saying the region is not a part of Pakistan and its laws do not apply here and demanded the release of political prisoners, who are serving illegal sentences. (ANI)

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