GILGIT: Progressive leader - Baba Jan - on Tuesday filed an appeal in an upper court at Gilgit – Baltistan [G-B] against Anti Terrorism Court [ATC] verdict that sentenced him and 11 others life imprisonment.
The appealed was filed in G-B Chief Court through Advocate Ehsan Ali, a senior lawyer.
“We have filed an appeal and are hopeful for the justice,” said Advocate Ehsan Ali.
Jan, vice president of Awami Workers Party (AWP), was handed down life term by Justice Raja Shehbaz of ATC – 1 on Thursday along with 11 others for torching government property and ransacking a police station during riots in Hunza back in 2011.
AWP was formed after three leftist parties merged in 2012: Labour Party, Workers Party and Awami Party.
The riots erupted in August 2011 after police opened fire on a group of protesters in Aliabad, Hunza who were demanding compensation for their land wrecked and inundated by the Attabad Lake. The protesters were among 25 out of 457 families who had not been compensated.
Police action was taken to clear the Karakoram Highway for Chief Minister Mehdi Shah, who was visiting the valley, to pass through. Afzal Baig, 22, and his father, Sherullah Baig were shot dead, as a result of which riots broke out and enraged protesters torched a police station and other government offices and also looted police station at Ali Abad.
Advocate Ehsan said they have also challenged the appointment of justice Raja Shehbaz Khan as judge of the ATC as he didn’t fulfill the criteria.
Baba Jan offers his arrest
On Monday Jan appeared before the ATC and offered his arrest voluntarily. He taken in custody by police and shifted to jail.
ATC delays verdict in another FIR
The ATC, which was support to give its verdict in the FIR #21 against Baba Jan on Tuesday, put it off till October 14.
“The court will now announce its decision on the FIR #21 on October 14,” said a spokesman of Progressive Youth Front - AWP’s youth wing, without mentioning reasons of delay.
According to the spokesman, FIR #21 deals with burning of Aliabad police station and attacking station house officer [SHO] residence – the charges denied by the accused.