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Islamabad National

Dozens put on Fourth Schedule in GB

TP 3 years ago

Islamabad (TP): Dozens of people including civil and rights activists and an academic in Gilgit-Baltistan have been put on the infamous Fourth Schedule — for their apparent opposition to the new GB Order 2018 and other draconian laws that are used to gag the voices demanding political and constitutional rights for the over two million populace.

The development comes after the people of GB took to the streets in their opposition for the new GB Order announced by the previous PMNL-N government, purportedly claiming to have a comprehensive package in giving constitutional and political rights to the denizens, whose very identity as citizens had been hanging in the balance for the last seven decades.

The new list includes the names of around 27 individuals who were at the forefront in their opposition for the new GB order and who had recently taken on GB Chief Secretary Babar Hayat Tarar on the social media over his disparaging remarks against a citizen who had demanded health facilities for the most neglected Ganche district.

Some even said that on the other hand the state was patronizing individuals, who remained associated with terror outfits and they actively propagate their ideology and put up flags across GB, while on the other hand, nonviolent and educated individuals were put under the draconian law only to gag their voice they raise off and on for the rights of the GB people. The list includes the names of Awami Action Committee leader from Skardu Agha Syed Ali Rizvi, lecturer Noor Akbar, nationalist leader Manzoor Parvana, GB Awareness Forum leader Shabbir Hussain, activist Yawar Abbas, political leader Mir Nawaz Mir, Advocate Shakoor Khan and others.

Leaders of opposition parties and others have warned that the application of this legislation in fits and starts will further push the already deprived region, sitting on molten lava, to the brink of no return. They said that using such third-rate tactics to terrify the sane voices will boomerang at a time when the country was engaged in a multi-tier battle against extremists and terrorists.

According to Section 11EE of the ATA, the Fourth Schedule is to include “any person who is an activist, office-bearer or an associate of an organization kept under observation … or proscribed … or … affiliated with any group or organization suspected to be involved in terrorism or sectarianism”. To prevent them from propagating their noxious views, the law — with certain caveats — does not allow these individuals to visit institutions of learning, training or residence where persons under 21 years of age are found. Similarly, public places such as restaurants, television and radio stations or airports are out of bounds for them. They are also forbidden from taking part in public meetings or processions, or from being present at an enclosed location in connection with any public event.”

PPP GB President and senior lawyer Amjad Advocate said that putting the names of educated and well-read people of the society on the list will further push the region on the brink of the collision. “The state machinery is playing with the molten lava. “In actuality, the name of GBLA Deputy Speaker Jafferullah, who recently spoke outrageously against state institutions after the Avenfield reference verdict against Sharifs, should have been put on the Fourth Schedule, but the ruling PML-N, which faced an embarrassing resistance over the so-called GB order, is exacting its anger with the educated and vocal voices. The GB PML-N government in cahoots with unseen forces was targeting the people raising their voice for the rights of the region. This law is altogether meant for dealing with proscribed outfits and suspected individuals, but in GB, it is being applied against individuals demanding constitutional and political rights,” he said.

Awami Action Committee President Sultan Raees said that they have given an ultimatum to the authorities to take the new names off the latest list, and if they did not do that in the next two weeks, a vehement public movement would be launched in GB against the misuse of the law. He also said that since the people of GB have forged unity by doing away with the sectarian menace, the power that be had started using the law against individuals who were demanding rights for the region. He said that all those arrested under the Fourth Schedule after 2012 should be taken off the list and those incarcerated in jails should be freed and the law should be made limited to the proscribed organizations.

Shabbir Hussain, whose name has appeared in the list, said that they were being punished for raising awareness among the masses for their rights. “At a time, when we are persuading the youth to give up anti-state activities and join the mainstream for the rights of the region, pro-Pakistan individuals are being targeted, which is an unfortunate episode. We have never instigated the people to go against the state of Pakistan, but we only talk for the rights. If it is crime, we will continue to demand the rights,” he said.

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