Residents of Nasirabad have threatened to lay siege to the offices of the deputy and assistance commissioners if a youth leader and political activist, Baba Jan, is not released from jail within three days.
The youth leader was shifted back to Jutial sub-jail on Tuesday after a three-day remand, his lawyer, Ehsan Ali, told The Express Tribune. He said his client was taken to an undisclosed location for interrogation.
Ali said Jan’s bail plea had been accepted and he was expected to be released earlier this month, but was remanded in yet another case by the anti-terrorism court on charges of inciting sectarian hatred and promoting anti-government sentiments among prisoners. He had earlier termed the charge “another tool to incarcerate [the detained youth leader]”.
The leader’s second remand spurred protests by people in his hometown a day earlier. Over 500 people, including women and children, staged a protest march in the town and laid siege to local government offices for four hours, demanding release of the detained leader. They then rallied to the Karakoram Highway, chanted slogans against the government, Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Chief Minister Mehdi Shah and G-B Speaker Wazir Baig.
Jan, who is the chief organiser of Progressive Youth Movement, was among the nearly 100 people arrested for allegedly ransacking a police station. Jan and his party were accused of fuelling the riots, a charge that he denied.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2012.