A detained youth leader Baba Jan, who was to be released earlier this month, has been remanded in yet another case by the anti-terrorism court.
Police officials on Saturday shifted the detained leader from Jutial sub-jail to the Joint Investigation Cell for investigations, sources and Jan’s lawyer Ehsan Ali told The Express Tribune.
According to inside sources, jail officials attempted to transfer Jan to the Joint Investigation Cell on Friday; however, the inmates charged-up and began shouting slogans against the jail authorities, forcing the officials to return.
The counsel informed that Jan has now been accused of inciting sectarian hatred and promoting anti-government sentiments among prisoners in Gilgit Jail. He scoffed at the charge terming it “another tool to incarcerate [the detained youth leader]”. He said that earlier, on June 27, a court in Gilgit had accepted Jan’s bail plea and ordered for his release, “but that never happened”. He also accused Chief Minister Mehdi Shah, Speaker Wazir Baig and the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Hussain Asghar of allowing the police and jail staff to torture Jan while in custody.
Some three months back, Advocate Ali wrote a letter to the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) police chief, informing him that Jan and others were subjected to torture in jail by police officials. He had asked the IGP to take action against the officials.
The Ministry of Human Rights took notice of the Jan and others’ detention and others wrote letters to the chief secretary, the IGP and the head of G-B prison police, asking them to release the youth leader.
Jan, who is the chief organiser of Progressive Youth Movement, was among the nearly 100 people arrested for allegedly ransacking a police station and torching government offices after a clash, which claimed the lives of two internally displaced persons, Sher Afzal Baig and his son Sherullah Baig, in Hunza last year. Jan and his party were accused of fuelling the riots, a charge that he denied.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2012.