FREE Baba Jan! A Call from the Youth of Mindanao

Equating activism to terrorism is a bigoted notion among the neo-fascist and authoritarian regimes in different points of the world to justify the use state powers especially the military and police force against the protesters just like what happened to Baba Jan and his 11 companions who have been imprisoned by the authority for being a political activist in Pakistan.

Baba Jan is a central leader of the left-wing Awami Workers Party РGilgit Baltistan.  After the landslide incident in Attabad, Hunza that displaced more than 1, 000 villagers, Baba Jan organized the displaced people to lobby to the Pakistan Government for compensation and resettlement. He joined a mobilization to demand for the rights of the affected communities however some of the protesters were shoot to death. As they call for justice for the victims, Baba Jan was arrested, repeatedly tortured and accused as terrorist. Recently, he was sentenced by the Anti-terrorism Court to 40 years of imprisonment.

The petition of Awami Workers Party in Pakistan and the some human rights organization in the Pakistan and other international organizations and personalities for his release has been signed by Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, David Graeber and several others. Among the organizations who demand Justice for Baba Jan are International Socialist, Progressive Youth Front Lahore, National Trade Union Federation and others.

The case of Baba Jan and his fellow activists in Pakistan was similarly what happened during the Martial Law period in the Philippines where massive number of political activists were detained, harassed, sexually abused, tortured, and killed by the state.  This state violence has continued in the Philippines even after Martial Law. Doctor Gery Ortiga and Gloria Capitan, Juvy Capion and her sons were among the environmental activists who were killed in the past few years in the Philippines. In the campaign against drugs syndicate under the administration of President Duterte, the spate of extra judicial killings have gone up victimizing small time alleged drug addicts and pushers. What even more striking are the absence of due process in all these cases but also most of the victims are the young people.

Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan (LMK) [League of Alternative Youth]- a progressive youth organization based in Mindanao, Philippines- believes that in a civilized world, Human Rights must be valued and upheld by the all States at all times and that Baba Jan is just among the numbers of leaders of the oppressed and marginalized sectors in the society whose voices are suppressed. Instead, they are criminalized and persecuted.

In unison with comrades in Pakistan and around the world, the Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan demands for justice to all victims of human rights violation and for the release of Baba Jan and his 11 fellow activists.

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