You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Baba Jan (American Poet)
History is replete with the examples of many great leaders who fought for their people’s rights and changed the course of history. Many famous leaders like Napoleon Bonaparte, Whitson Churchill, Nelson Mandala, Abraham Inchon, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Quid e Azam, Mahatma Gandhi fought for their people and still rule the heart of millions of people all around the world.
When we talk about Pakistan’s history, We have barely found a good leader after Quid- e -Azam. Unfortunately, he left this immortal world just after one year of independence. “Think a hundred times before you take a decision, but once the decision is taken, stand by it as one man.” These are his memorial words; no doubt, he carved out an independent state from the world’s map due to his commitment to the aim. Life betrayed him, and he could not put the country on the track of progress. No charismatic leader came forward after him to lead the nation from the vortex of disparity to the oasis of tranquility.
The history of Gilgit Baltistan is more pathetic. Since independence from Dogras, the people do not found a leader who has political acumen to lead the nation. A shrewd bird does not lend the smallest of its feathers to the hunter. But our political leaders have completely given the fortune of twenty million people in the hands of those demagogues who have the least interest in the issues of Gilgit Baltistan. It is crystal clear that they do not utter a single word before their party chiefs and always remain staunch with them. After all, the bully is always a coward. But if a leader shows his audacity to speak for the rights of downtrodden people, he is incarcerated, declared anti-state, and even killed. Baba Jan, undisputedly the most popular leader of Gilgit Baltistan, met the same fate.
Election of 2016,
Baba Jan has become a symbol of justice against the brutality of the government. He always raised his voices for common folk’s rights, which is why he is equally popular among all ages of people. The election of 2016 is evidence that he still rules the heart of people. He contested the election for the GBLA during incarceration on the Awami worker party (A party formed in November 2012. Which was a merge of the Labor party, the Awami party, and workers party) for constituency GBLA-6 but lose to Mir Ghazangfar Ali Khan of Hunzas’s ruling family, who later became the governor of GB during the PMLN government. But he gained more votes than the candidates of PPP and PTI collectively.
In January 2010, many villages swept along or submerged into the Hunza River due to the land sliding in the Hunza River and the river amp & nbsp; spontaneously formed lake now called Attabad Lake. The Karakorum Highway was completely blocked, due to which they displaced families have no access to the rest of Pakistan. Baba Jan organized protests to lobbying the government to compensate the displaced families of the valley and solve their problems in the aftermath of the devastating land sliding. The government compensated 457 families but left behind 25 families that resulted in another formidable protest. (29 July 2012 Dawn News).
On Aug 12, the displaced families arranged a protest on Karakorum Highway during the visits of CM Syed Mehdi Shah to Ali Abad. Police used tear gases to disperse the protesters open fired at the protesters and killed two protesters Afzal Baig 22, and his father Sherullah Baig, as he was trying to retrieve Afzal’s body. Baba Jan was not present at that time. When he came to know about this inescapable incident, he demanded fair inquiry of killing two unarmed protesters and bringing the perpetrator to justice. Consequently, he and many other activists were attested and put them behind bars.
He remained in Lockup for two years and was granted bail after series of protests for his release from incarceration in Entire Gilgit Baltistan. He was again captured in 2014 after the cancelation of his bail. On 25th September 2014, Baba Jan and other activists (Iftikhar Husain, Irfan Ali, Aleemullah Khan, Sher Khan, Rashid Minhas, and Salman Ali) were sentenced to life imprisonment by Anti-Terrorism Court in Gilgit City. Source: High Asia
A series of protests are being held since his incarceration and justice for Baba Jan. Before the current wave, many protests were held in the past, but the government did not pay any heed. A new wave of protests erupted a few days ago from Hunza and spreader all over the world. Even in London, protests were held against his incarceration in front of the Pakistani High commission by AWP (Awami Workers Party). The AWP workers also arranged a protest in front of the National Press club Islamabad and demanded his release. They chanted “Baba Jan, Baba Jan ko Raha kro, (release baba Jan) and justice for Baba Jan. Meanwhile, the family members of the incarcerated family called for a boycott for the upcoming election, which is scheduled on Nov. 15. The lawyers of the Hunza also announced to boycott the courts to show solidarity to the jailed leaders.
The government must feel the grief of the victimized families. A report in dawn news was published regarding these families on Oct 11, which was like dropping bombshells for the readers. Mr. Mateen, the father of Rashid Minhas, said that his son was recently diagnosed with heart problems and was under treatment in AKH Karachi in police custody. Firdous Khanam, the mother of Shukorullah, said that her son was a labor and the only one to support her family. One of the sisters of Shakorullah committed suicide because she could not bear the grief of her brother’s long imprisonment. My blood runs cold while narrating these sufferings families.
The government must release a judicial inquiry report,
A matter of grave concern is that the judicial inquiry report is not published yet. The government must release the judicial inquiry report and provide justice to the victimized family. He also filed a petition against his conviction, but the irony is that one post of the judge is vacant to hear his petition in the Supreme Appellate Court, the highest court of Gilgit Baltistan. The government must appoint a judge for the early hearing of his petition. The people of Gilgit Baltistan have no access to the Supreme court of Pakistan; that is why a popular leader is in jail because he cannot appeal in the supreme court, and there is no judge in the Supreme Appellate court.
The sit-in has been called off by the protesters to assure their prisoners’ immediate release—a negotiation held between the Asiran e Hunza Rihai committee and representative of the caretaker government representatives. The government has assured them to free the 14 prisoners within 45 days.
The case of Baba Jan is a severe issue. Our judicial system is a question that a popular leader languishes behind bars without proved charges. It also indicates Pakistan’s fragile judicial system, especially GB, as the petition of Baba Jan and his comrades could not hear. Because of the unavailability of one judge in the supreme Appellate court for the last three years. The PM Imran Khan should intercede into this matter and give the concerned authorities directions to fill the post for early hearing of the petition.
In the last, I hope that the PM will take notice of the situation and provide justice to Baba Jan and his companions and bring the real culprits before the laws. If khan does so, he will win the hearts of the people of Gilgit Baltistan. Certainly, it will impact the ongoing election scheduled on Nov 15.