Special Reporter (Updated)
Gilgit, June 26: Leader of the Progressive Youth Front, Comrade Baba Jan, has been granted bail in a case pertaining to charges of rioting in Aliabad Hunza, along with his four other companions, by a court in Gilgit. Sources close to the PYF have informed quoting Advocate Ehsan Ali, one of the lawyers representing Baba Jan and his comrades.
Advocate Ehsan has further said that tomorrow the court will hear another case against Baba Jan and his companions related to charges of rioting inside the Gilgit prison. He has hoped that the Court will also grant the five prisoners bail in the second case, paving the way for their release.
Baba Jan had voluntarily presented himself for arrest on September 8 2011 after the police were unable to arrest him for almost three weeks of search. The search had been started after the August 11 shooting of two IDPs by police in Aliabad, an incident which led to the worst ever riots in the peaceful Hunza Valley. The police and government accused Baba Jan and his party of spearheading the riots in which government officials were thrashed, building and vehicles torched and roads blocked.
Baba Jan and PYF have denied all charges and accused the government of indicting them in false cases.
It is pertinent to note that a global campaign had been launched by left wing parties, student unions and trade unions, demanding release of Comrade Baba Jan and terming him a prisoner of conscience. Leading Paksitani rights advocates, including Asma Jahangir, and the Pakistan Human Rights Commission had also demanded release of Baba Jan, terming his and his comrades’ detention a ‘repressive tactic to cripple political dissent.’
Protests had been arranged across the country by Labour Party of Pakistan, of which Baba Jan is an executive member, different student bodies and other political parties for release of Baba Jan and his companions, who came to be known as the “Hunza 5”.
Below are some images of protests held for release of Baba Jan within Pakistan and abroad.