A Gilgit-Baltistan Court has upheld the life sentence of Baba Jan a well known political activist from the Pakistan´s semi-autonomous north.
Baba Jan, a left wing political activist from the Hunza Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan, was convicted by an anti-terrorism court for participating in political riots in 2011 and lost an appeal against his life sentence earlier yesterday.
Jan has vocally protested what he and supporters describe as political, constitutional and human rights violations in the area, organising rallies and demonstrations in protest.
He contested local elections last year from prison, placing second in the polls.
“The decision was aimed at barring Baba Jan from contesting elections but it will have a counter-productive impact,” said political analyst Amir Hussain.
“This decision will backfire and trigger extremist views like a nationalistic upsurge,” he said.
A simmering resentment has been building in Gilgit-Baltistan since federal government began mulling upgrading its constitutional status in a bid to provide legal cover to a multi-billion-dollar Chinese investment plan in the area.
Human rights organisations have been demanding the release of Baba Jan. An international petition for his release has been signed by leading left wing intellectuals, including Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and David Graeber.