The General Secretary
National Trade Unions Federation
10 May 2012
The NTUI condemns the unfair detention and recent brutal torture by the police and security agencies of the five activists of the Progressive Youth Front (PYF) and Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), namely Comrades Baba Jan, Ameer Khan, Amir Ali, Iftikhar Hussain, and Rashid Minhas, detained since August 2011 for organising demonstrations against the police killings of two persons in July 2011 at a demonstration of those affected by the Attabad landslide in January 2010. The struggle for compensation of all internally displaced persons due to the devastating landslide and flood in the Hunza valley led by the LPP and the PYF is truly commendable in the face of severe state repression.
In January 2010, a landslide into the Hunza River created what is now called the Attabad Lake. As the lake formed, village after village was submerged, destroying one road that connects this area to the rest of Pakistan. Over 25,000 people were affected in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. Comrade Baba Jan and others had toured the country creating public opinion and demanding the government to drain the lake and create transport facilities for the affected. The government failed to act on time. To suppress the protests, the government promised compensation but that too reached very few of the affected. The Government of Pakistan’s refusal to pay compensation to all affected persons along with brutal suppression of protests is indicative of its complete lack of intent to address this issue. Further, the government has charged the key activists under the draconian Anti-Terrorism Ordinance.
The fact that the arrested activists have been in prison since September 2011 under inhuman conditions with repeated instances of torture being reported with no proper medical care being offered clearly violates basic human rights and the right to democratic dissent. NTUI stands in solidarity in your struggle against the use of black laws to intimidate and harass political activists and deny the right to democratic dissent. This struggle is a shared and common struggle. The NTUI supports your demand for the Immediate Release of the 5 Detained activists. The NTUI shares your concern that the transfer of the detainees to the sub-jail in Zulfiqarabad, Gilgit City, will be an additional threat to their lives.
The NTUI hails the strength of Comrades Baba Jan, Ameer Khan, Amir Ali, Iftikhar Hussain, and Rashid Minhas and their commitment to social justice.
for the New Trade Union Initiative,