Home Army Technology Amid Pakistan Army chief`s visit to PoK, people take to streets demanding release of locals – WION

Amid Pakistan Army chief`s visit to PoK, people take to streets demanding release of locals – WION

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A protest was organised in Aliabad Hunza of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) with people demanding the release of 14 local men, including political leader Baba Jan, who were jailed in 2011 for `inciting` people against the government.The protestors vowed to continue with the agitation till acceptance of their demand. 

The protests come at the time when Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa is visiting PoK. Bajwa has inaugurated state-of-the-art Software Technology Park, an initiative of the Special Communication Organisation (SCO), in Gilgit on Tuesday.

The protest was called by Aseeran-i-Hunza Rihaee Committee, a body formed to push for the release of the incarcerated leaders.About 500 male and female political activists from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistani Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N), religious and local organisations, and family members of the prisoners gathered at College Chowk in Aliabad Hunza, blocking the Karakoram HighwayThe protesters were holding placards inscribed with different slogans, calling for giving justice to the jailed people. 

They also chanted the slogan as `Free 14 sons of Hunza`.The protesters said Baba Jan and 13 other people had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2011 for what they said raising voice for the rights of victims of the Attabad lake disaster.They said it was astonishing that the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) charges had been slapped against the people. 

Baba Jan is serving a ninety-year sentence which is based on trumped-up charges. He is an activist who challenged the then Pakistani administration which was essentially working against the people of Gilgit Baltistan.The Pakistan establishment has used the draconian schedule IV of the Anti-Terrorism Act in Gilgit Baltistan to muzzle the reasonable voices that resist its repression.

It has framed dozens under the law not only to give itself a free rein to rule the region but also to send a threatening message to all sections of the societyPuppet governments in Gilgit and Muzaffarabad, which largely operate at the command of the feudal elite of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, have committed systematic human rights violations to suppress the people of the region and keep them marginalised.

Pakistan makes huge claims at international platforms about working for the welfare of Kashmiri people but the ground reality reeks of a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the region.

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