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Pakistan: Social media activist arrested for flagging rights violations in Gilgit-Baltistan

Pakistan: Social media activist arrested for flagging rights violations in Gilgit-Baltistan

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Police in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Hunza region have confirmed the arrest this week of a well known social media activist for posting material that they said was in violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Cyber Crime Act 2016.

A High Asia Herald report quoted credible sources, as saying that Hasnain Ramal had been detained by the local law enforcement authorities for being very vocal in highlighting public issues related to Gilgit-Baltistan on social media. Ramal, police said, was detained for raising political, national and basic human rights’ issues of Gilgit-Baltistan on social media.

The daily quoted Ehsan Ali, an advocate and president of the Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association (SACBA), as saying that Ramal had been questioned by a joint investigation team (JIT) for his social media posts and was produced before a court on Wednesday (August 9).

Earlier, Ramal’s name was put on Schedule 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, but on the intervention of Ehsan Ali, the issue was resolved.

Police said that he was also at the forefront of a movement launched by the Awami Action Movement for the restoration of subsidy on wheat and other essential items that were withdrawn four years ago by the PML-N government.

The movement was very successful and a rare demonstration of unity among different religious, nationalist and progressive parties in the sectarian-infested political atmosphere of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The government had to budge and restored subsidy on food items.

Leaders of the Awami Workers Party Gilgit-Baltistan (AWP-GB) and AWP Rawalpindi-Islamabad chapter have expressed concern over Ramal’s arrest under what they called “trumped up charges”.

They demanded his immediate release as also of the other nationalist and progressive political activists.

They also expressed concern over rising incidents of enforced disappearances in Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.

They said that the government is allowing terrorist outfits to operate in the country without any hindrance on the one hand, while on the other, progressive, nationalist and human rights activists are being victimized for raising their voices for their fundamental national, political and democratic rights peacefully. (ANI)