Baba Jan Case: Political Detainees in Danger in Pakistan

Since September 2011, Baba Jan – a Federal Committee member of the Labour Party Pakistan – and several other members of the LPP and the Progressive Youth Front (PYF) have been imprisoned for the support they gave to poor local residents who were demanding compensation after the devastating 2010 landslide and flood in the Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan.

April 28, 2012, the five detainees have been severely beaten in jail. According to the most recent news, three of them, Baba Jan, Iftikhar Hussain and Amir Ali received serious injuries. Baba Jan’s hand was fractured. The other two comrades, Ameer Khan and Rashid Minhas, received relatively fewer injuries. They were not allowed to receive any visit after this aggression.

Six days after the attack, the injured political detainees have been denied medical treatment – indeed, the jailers seems to have been given strict instructions in this regard.

The five detainees have been transferred to sub-jail Zulfiqarabad, Gilgit City, where hardened criminals are generally imprisoned. This is a source of acute concern as we fear that the state might seek to use these criminals to launch a second, possibly fatal, attack on the five comrades.

The Labour Party and the Progressive Youth Front have organised many rallies around the country to condemn the illegal detention of Baba Jan and his comrades – they are jailed under the anti-terrorist act!–, and subsequent torture, and to demand their immediate release.

The life of the five activists maybe in danger. It is of the utmost importance to widen the solidarity campaign to protect Baba Jan and his comrades, for them to be safe and to be released from custody immediately and unconditionally.

International solidarity initiatives have begun. We reproduce below letters of protests sent from Australia. They can inspire actions in other countries.

More information will be published as soon as possible on our website.

Pierre Rousset, Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF)


Letter of protest against torture of Baba Jan, ’prisoner of climate change’ in Pakistan

May 3, 2012

To:

His Excellency Mr Abdul Malik Abdullah
High Commissioner for Pakistan
4 Timbarra Crescent, O’Malley
ACT 2606
parepcanberra internode.on.net

Cc: Mr Azam Mohammed
Consul General for Pakistan
Level 7, 32 Martin Place,
Sydney 2000
parepsydne comcen.com.au

Dear Sir,

We have been informed by the Labour Party of Pakistan that Baba Jan, Waqar and other activists in Gilgit district jail were severely beaten and tortured by dozens of Rangers, Police and Frontier Constabulary in the early morning of April 28, 2012.

We are especially concerned for the fate of Baba Jan, who was taken from the Gilgit district jail by security personnel and transported to a place unknown.

We strongly protest against this violence and object to the prison authorities’ ban on visitors to these political activists. It would seem that the responsible authorities have failed in their duty to maintain safe custody of these persons. This kind of treatment of political activists should not be acceptable in a democratic Pakistan.

We are writing to request that that you pass on to your government our urgent request that Baba Jan, Waqar and all other activists be released from custody immediately and that the ban by Gilgit district jail authorities on vistors to these activists be lifted. Further, we ask you to please determine and advise us of the location of Baba Jan and any others taken from Gilgit district jail?

The Gilgit district jail authorities should publicly indicate the health status of each of Baba Jan, Waqar and the other activists – their families are also very worried. They are considered to be in dire need of medical assistance – something the authorities should facilitate. We request that they are immediately released and, if necessary, be promptly transferred to hospital.

We are extremely anxious for the safety of the above persons, and wish to have information as to their legal and health status as soon as possible.

We look forward to hearing from you soon about this matter as we are having emergency discussions with concerned prominent individuals, Members of Parliament in Australia, media and human rights organisations about future action on this case. Further, our European office is briefing organisations and MPS in that region about this concern.

There is a very broad layer of people around the world who are concerned about the fate of Baba Jan and his fellow activists because they are seen as political casualties of the deepening global climate change crisis. They are imprisoned for their roles in the campaign by poor local residents who were demanding compensation for the devastating landslide and flood in the Hunza Valley in 2010.

International flood relief campaigns for Pakistan have also increased public awareness of the situation. The success of future emergency appeals could be compromised if there were serious concerns that the victims of flooding and their advocates are being mistreated by Pakistani officials at any level of government.

For all the abovementioned reasons, it would be a good idea for the Government of Pakistan to act most promptly on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Boyle
National Co-Convenor
Socialist Alliance (Australia)


Secure the safety and release of Mr Baba Jan, Waqa and other political prisoners detained in the Gilgit district jail

May 3, 2012

To: Mr Abdul Malik Abdullah
High Commissioner for Pakistan, 4 Timbarra Crescent, O’Malley ACT 2606
parepcanberra internode.on.net

Cc: Mr Azam Mohammed
Consul General for Pakistan, Level 7, 32 Martin Place, Sydney 2000
parepsydne comcen.com.au

Dear Mr Abdul Malik Abdullah,

I am writing to request your urgent intervention with the government of Pakistan to secure the safety and release of Mr Baba Jan, Waqa and other political prisoners detained in the Gilgit district jail. Mr Baba Jan is a leader of both the highly respected Labour Party Pakistan and the Progressive Youth Front in the region. I have been informed by the Labour Party of Pakistan that Baba Jan, Waqar and the other activists were severely beaten and tortured by rangers, police and Frontier Constabulary in the early morning of April 28, 2012. Prison authorities have banned anyone from visiting these activists. Furthermore, Baba Jan has been taken from the Gilgit district jail by security personnel and transported to a place unknown. I am outraged by the treatment of these activists and very concerned about their safety, and request urgent information as to their legal and health status. It is a basic human right that peaceful political activists be able to pursue their political activities without fear of arrest, imprisonment, torture and disappearance.

We in Australia have joined the international campaign to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Jan Baba and the other prisoners.

We also join with the Asian Human Rights Commission in calling for an end to the repression in Gilgit-Baltistan, and insist that the government of Pakistan prosecutes the police and intelligence officials responsible for these violations of human rights. We look forward to your swift response.

Merrilyn Treasure
Sydney
Australia


To: Mr Abdul Malik Abdullah
High Commissioner for Pakistan
4 Timbarra Crescent, O’Malley ACT 2606
parepcanberra internode.on.net

Cc: Mr Azam Mohammed
Consul General for Pakistan
Level 7, 32 Martin Place, Sydney 2000
parepsydne comcen.com.au

Dear High Commissioner,

I have been informed by the Labour Party of Pakistan that Baba Jan, Waqar and other activists in Gilgit district jail were severely beaten and tortured by dozens of rangers, police and Frontier Constabulary in the early morning of April 28.

I am very concerned for the fate of Baba Jan, who was taken from the Gilgit district jail by security personnel and transported to a place unknown.

I wish to strongly protest against this violence. I also strongly object to the jail authorities’ ban on visitors for these political activists.

I am writing to request that Baba Jan, Waqar and all other activists be released from custody immediately and that the ban by Gilgit district jail authorities on vistors to these activists be lifted immediately.

The Gilgit district jail authorities should publicly indicate the health status of each of Baba Jan, Waqar and the other activists – their families are also very worried. They are considered to be in dire need of medical assistance – something the authorities should facilitate.

Can you immediately advise the location of Baba Jan and any others taken from Gilgit district jail and request that they are immediately released and if necessary be transferred to hospital?

It would seem that the authorities have failed in their duty to maintain safe custody of these persons. This sort of treatment of political activists does not fit democratic Pakistan.

I am anxious for the safety of the above persons, and wish to have information as to their legal and health status as soon as possible.

I looks forward to hearing from you about this important matter.

Yours sincerely,

Pip Hinman
Sydney


High Commissioner of Pakistan
High Commission of Pakistan , Canberra
4 Timbarra Crescent,
O’Malley ACT 2606

Dear High Commissioner,

I have received a report from the Labour Party of Pakistan that their leader Baba Jan, Waqar and other activists in Gilgit district jail were severely beaten and tortured, suffering wounds, without any reason by dozens of rangers, police and Frontier Constabulary in the early morning of 28 April 2012. Jail authorities have imposed a strict ban on anyone visiting these Labour Party of Pakistan leader and activists. Furthermore, Baba Jan has been taken from the Gilgit district jail by security personnel and transported to a place unknown.

I wish to protest strongly at this treatment of these political activists, and demand the following:

- That Baba Jan, Waqar and all other Labour Party Pakistan activists be released from custody immediately;

- An immediate lifting of the ban by Gilgit district jail authorities of anyone having access to Baba Jan, Waqar and all other Labour Party Pakistan activists;

- That Gilgit district jail authorities publicly state the health status of each of Baba Jan, Waqar and all other Labour Party Pakistan activists, and provide immediate access to them by hospital health professionals;

Immediately advise the location of Baba Jan and any others taken from Gilgit district jail, and also immediately return them safely to Gilgit and then immediately release them from custody, and if necessary to hospital; and
any health costs for medically treating Baba Jan, Waqar and any other affected Labour Party Pakistan activists to be met by the Gilgit jail authorities who have so manifestly failed in their duty to maintain safe custody of these persons.

I am anxious for the safety of the above persons, and wish to have information as to their legal and health status as soon as possible.

In Australia , political activists of political parties go about their party political activities without fear of being arrested, jailed, or having outside forces allowed in jail to beat them, or being ‘disappeared’.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Oboohov
Public servant and unionist,


May 2, 2012

To: Mr Abdul Malik Abdullah
High Commissioner for Pakistan
4 Timbarra Crescent, O’Malley ACT 2606
parepcanberra internode.on.net

Cc: Mr Azam Mohammed
Consul General for Pakistan
Level 7, 32 Martin Place, Sydney 2000
parepsydne comcen.com.au

Dear Mr Abdul Malik Abdullah,

We are writing to request your urgent intervention with the government of Pakistan to secure the safety and release of Mr Baba Jan, Waqa and other political prisoners detained in the Gilgit district jail. Mr Baba Jan is a leader of both the highly respected Labour Party Pakistan and the Progressive Youth Front in the region.

We have been informed by the Labour Party of Pakistan that Baba Jan, Waqar and the other activists were severely beaten and tortured by rangers, police and Frontier Constabulary in the early morning of April 28, 2012. Prison authorities have banned anyone from visiting these activists. Furthermore, Baba Jan has been taken from the Gilgit district jail by security personnel and transported to a place unknown.

We are outraged by the treatment of these activists and anxious about their safety, and request urgent information as to their legal and health status.

It is a basic human right that peaceful political activists be able to pursue their political activities without fear of arrest, imprisonment, torture and disappearance, and we insist that:

1. Baba Jan, Waqar and all other Labour Party Pakistan activists be released from custody immediately and unconditionally;

2. the ban by Gilgit district jail authorities on anyone having access to Baba Jan, Waqar and all other Labour Party Pakistan activists be immediately lifted;

3. the Gilgit district jail authorities publicly state the health status of each of Baba Jan, Waqar and all other Labour Party Pakistan activists, and provide immediate access to them by health professionals;

4. the authorities advise the location of Baba Jan and any others taken from Gilgit district jail, and immediately return them safely to Gilgit and release them from custody, if necessary to hospital;

5. any health costs for Baba Jan, Waqar and any other affected Labour Party Pakistan activists to be met by the Gilgit jail authorities.

We in Australia have joined the international campaign to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Jan Baba and the other prisoners.

We also join with the Asian Human Rights Commission in calling for an end to the repression in Gilgit-Baltistan, and insist that the government of Pahttp://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?page=mot&id_mot=7650&lang=fristan prosecutes the police and intelligence officials responsible for these violations of human rights.

We look forward to your swift response.

Yours sincerely,
Lisa Macdonald
International Relations Committee
Socialist Alliance, Australia


For background information see on ESSF the eyword “JAN Baba”:
http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?page=mot&id_mot=7650&lang=fr

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