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Affected people demand solution to problems

January 5, 2012

Two years have passed but affected people of landslide driven 35-km long Attabad Lake are still moving from one door to another for solution of their problems and release of their near and dear ones who were arrested during protests against insensitivity of the Gilgit-Baltistan government.


As part of their protest campaign scores of affected people of Attabad Lake appeared in front of National Press Club and raised slogans against apathy of both federal and Gilgit-Baltistan governments that have miserably failed to resolve this lingering crisis.


The protesters said freezing winter temperatures have transformed the lake into an ice block thus blocking their only viable route to get in touch with the rest of the country.


“Attabad Lake still poses immense problems for locals of the Hunza Valley as it has not only affected trade between the valleys but also affected international trade between Pakistan and China. People on both sides of the lake started using boats to travel and carry out trade but now they have been cut off from other parts of the country,” they said.


Residents of Gojal Valley were also present on the occasion and according to them formation of ice in the lake has made boat service ineffective and now they have no means and alternative route to continue their routine activities.


They said social activist Baba Jan organised rallies and demonstrations against the police firing that killed two activists near Attabad Lake and instead of arresting the police officers involved in the incident police registered 16 cases against Baba Jan and other people.


According to reports Baba Jan joined Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) in 2004 and was elected to its federal committee at its congress in Faisalabad in 2010. Previously one of the main leaders of Peoples Youth, he had left the PPP Youth Wing to join LPP and organised Progressive Youth Front (PYF) across Gilgit-Baltistan.


Baba Jan was among those who raised the issue of Attabad Lake and toured Pakistan in 2011 to organise rallies and demonstrations to highlight the plight of the villagers who lost their homes due to artificial lake caused by deforestation, soil erosion and climate change.


President of Progressive Youth Front Sami Barcha while addressing the protesters said the government made tall claims that debris of lake would be cleared in fifteen days and water would be drained through a spillway but instead it made the life of the affected people more miserable with its wrong policies.


He said the government is not paying any attention to their demand for release of social activists who raised voice for resolution of the lingering crisis including Baba Jan, Iftikhar Hussain, Irfan Ali, Sher Khan, Amir Khan, Ameer Ali and Rashid Minhas.


The protesters demanded of the Gilgit-Baltistan government to take immediate steps to restore communication links in the affected areas and immediately release all the prisoners who want justice for their people.


Source: The News International

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