Pakistan: Activist arrested, tortured for helping flood victims -- support needed

September 15, 2011
Baba Jan speaking at a demonstration for the flood affected earlier this year.

Baba Jan, a federal committee member of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), surrendered himself to an "anti-terrorist court" in Gilgit Baltestan in early September.

He had been on the run after police opened fire on a demonstration demanding compensation for those affected by the Atta Abad Lake floods last year, killing two

Jan has since been taken from jail and the LPP fears the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is torturing him.

Jan’s “crime” was to organise rallies and demonstrations against the police killings.

The LPP has issued an urgent appeal for messages to protest against Jan's detention. The judge sent Jan to prison on judicial remand.

The LPP said: “He was dragged out of jail by the intelligence agencies”. The LPP demonstrated on September 15 at Islamabad National Press Club. It is planning more protests across Pakistan.

Instead of arresting the police officers involved in the deaths of the two activists, police laid 16 charges against Jan and others. They arrested at least 36 activists, among them 10 LPP members in Gilgit Baltestan.

Jan escaped arrest and was sheltered by the community. After a month underground, he decided to surrender.

As of September 15, six activists including Jan remained under arrest, facing charges that many know to be fabricated.

Jan joined the LPP in 2004 and was elected to the LPP federal committee at its congress in Faisalabad in 2010.

Previously one of the main leaders of the People's Youth, he had left the Pakistan PeoGilgit Baltistan, the northern-most province in Pakistan.

Jan was among the first to raise the issue of the Atta Abad Lake to highlight the plight of villagers who have lost their homes to this newly formed lake caused by deforestation, soil erosion and climate change.

He toured Pakistan this year to organise rallies and demonstrations around the issue. He spoke to the national media in press conferences held in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

The corporate media finally took up the issue and some compensation was paid to the victims. However, a new movement began to urge compensation for all affected.

When the police opened fire on the July protest, killing two activists, Jan and his comrades took up the case.

The LPP appeals to all human rights organisations, political parties, trade unions, youth and peasant organisation raise their voices to save Jan's life.

[Farooq Tariq is a spokesperson for the Labour Party Pakistan. Please send protest messages to Farooq Tariq at For more information, please contact Ihsan Ali, president of the Gilgit Baltistan High Court Bar Association and member of LPP federal committee (034 6252 4792), or Nisar Shah, general secretary Labour Party Pakistan (0300 2147960).]


Manzoor Parwana ,the chairman Gilgit Baltistan United Movement ,recently released form the prison disclosed that baba jan was severly tortured by Pakistani agencies during his physical remand in a govt torture cell in Gilgit. Parwana condemned the brutal act of Pakistani forces and urged international community to assert pressure on Zardari to stop rights violation in the region

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