Gilgit-Baltistan: People in Hunza brave chill, continue protest to free political prisoners

New Delhi (NVI): Braving cold weather, several protestors, including women, children and elderly, continued with their protests in Aliabad, Hunza Valley of Gilgit Baltistan, for the release of their family members who are under forcible detention and enforced disappearance for years at the hand of Pakistan.

The protestors have been largely been demanding freedom for Baba Jan, Iftikhar Karbalai and other political prisoners locked away in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Baba Jan, who has been serving sentence behind prison bars for 6 years now. Reportedly, he is the longest-serving political prisoner in occupied Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan.

This is in continuation to a massive protest rally that was held in Hunza yesterday by families of political prisoners who remain in Pakistan’s illegal custody for raising their voices against oppression by Islamabad and ISI.

Political and Human Rights activists have condemned for long the illegal detention of people from the region who have been arrested merely for criticising the Pakistan government or military.

This is the second night of Aliabad protest as youth, elders, students are participating in the protests to demand freedom of their loved ones under forcible detention by Pakistan authorities and military.

“Families of incarcerated #Hunza youth continue sit-in in Aliabad despite cold weather. They are demanding freedom for 14 activists, including AWP leader Baba Jan, who have been languishing in jails for almost 10 years,” tweeted Pamir Times.

People in Gilgit-Baltistan, have been demanding the release of Baba Jan and around 13 other political prisoners before elections.

Even as mainstream Pakistan media doesn’t highlight the plight of people in Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan, under pressure and censorship from Pakistan government, innocent citizens in these regions are facing hardships and the loss of their loved ones under Islamabad’s oppressive regime and appeasing Beijing for construction of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In a recent media briefing, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur stated that Pakistani Government has decided to change the status of G-B and to make it a full-fledged province.

India has opposed Pakistan’s plans to conduct elections in Gilgit-Baltistan on November 15, saying that the Imran Khan government has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it.

India has also slammed the Pakistan government for its intentions to make material changes in areas under its illegal occupation and make Gilgit-Baltistan its fifth province.

Pakistan plans to hold an election for the so-called legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan on November 15, following which it will move towards making the region a full-fledged province.

India has also called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.

In recent weeks, Pakistan has repeatedly raised its “fabricated narrative” on Kashmir at international platforms such as UN but India has exposed Islamabad on the status of Gilgit-Baltistan, part of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

-ARK