Progressive political parties and rights activists on Friday demanded an immediate end to the torture of political workers in Gilgit and called for abolition or revision of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) to avoid its misuse.
A large number of leaders from various political parties held a protest from Aabpara Chock to National Press Club on Friday, during which they demanded the release of political prisoners, including Baba Jan.
Jan, the chief organiser of Progressive Youth Front, was arrested with his colleagues last year for agitating against the killings of an internally displaced person and his son by police officials.
The Hunza-Nagar district administration had booked him under the ATA on charges of disturbing law and order.
“We condemn the misuse of ATA against innocent workers who raise their voices for genuine political, economic and constitutional rights,” said Aasim Sajjad Akhter of the Workers Party Pakistan. “The terrorists are roaming freely but political workers are being imprisoned in fake cases.
This practice should immediately come to an end,” he added.
Rights activist Farzana Bari shared similar views with the protesters and called for bringing an end to using state machinery against political workers.
“We condemn the state’s attitude towards political workers and their imprisonment without any justification,” she remarked.
Calling the torture of political activists a “sheer violation of human rights”, Nisar Shah of the Labour Party Pakistan warned the government of serious action if it failed to release them.
Despite the government’s claims of having no political prisoners, 14 leaders of LPP are languishing in jails, he said while addressing the protest rally.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ