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Gilgit-Baltistan (Pakistan): Religious institutions mobilised for a smear campaign against Baba Jan and his party
By Farooq Tariq
March 11, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — While this great son of the mountains is incarcerating in jail for raising voice for the rights of the people of GB and all working class people of Pakistan, the stooges of imperialist neo-colonial powers and some elements in the religious institutions and community organisations at the behest of the Establishment have once again launched a smear campaign against Baba Jan and his party.
By Awami Workers Party
February 13, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The Awami Workers Party (AWP) expresses grief over the loss of 16 lives in yet another terrorist attack in Lahore.
The AWP Spokesperson Farooq Tariq in a statement here on Monday condemned the failure of law enforcement agencies in foiling the terrorist attack despite forewarning. He expressed sympathies with the families of those killed and injured in the terrorist attack.
Pakistan: Awami Workers Party condemns Trump's travel ban on citizens and residents of 7 Muslim-majority countries
By Farooq Tariq
January 29, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The Awami Workers Party condemns the travel ban on citizens and residents of 7 Muslim-majority countries instituted by the administration of President Donald Trump. While the ban has been instituted in the name of securing the United States from terrorism, the order is in effect, a collective ban on a particular religious community from those countries – Muslims – including legal residents of the United States, from entering the United States. It is also painfully ironic that the bulk of the countries affected by the ban – including Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Libya – are those that the US and its allies, including Saudi Arabia, have invaded or bombed in recent years, creating thousands of refugees in the process.
Pakistan: Awami Workers Party demands immediate and safe recovery of disappeared poet & activist Salman Haider
By Awami Workers Party
October 18, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Awami Workers Party website — The second federal congress of the Awami Workers Party concluded with a call for peace in the region and social change. The party described the current tension between Pakistan and India as a conspiracy of the ruling class of the two countries and demanded an immediate end to warmongering. The party also supported the Kashmiri struggle for the right to self-determination and condemned violence against the people of the disputed Himalayan territory. These and other demands were made through a set of resolutions passed by the delegates of the congress.
September 20, 2016 — Awami Workers Party — Dear friends, well-wishers and all those who struggle for a better world!
In less than four years, the Awami Workers Party (AWP) has emerged as Pakistan's preeminent left-wing political force, reinvigorating the progressive political tradition after many years in the wilderness.
As many of you will know, to run a leftist organization in Pakistan is as challenging a task as any in the world. This is a country that has long been a 'frontline state' of imperialism, run by a venal elite including a praetorian army, and overwhelmed by a brand of right-wing religious militancy that has eroded an already fragile social fabric.
The AWP represents an attempt to bring together the best traditions of left politics in the 20th century with a new generation of activists politicized by the anti-globalization and anti-war movements of the early 21st century.
September 13, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tanqeed — Writer and labor organizer, Sara Jaffri, and left-wing political worker and the Punjab Deputy General Secretary of the Awami Workers Party, Alia Amirali talk organizing, feminism and class in Pakistan.
By Jan Malewski
August 3, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Viewpoint -- Accused without evidence of acts that he could not have committed, since he was at the time about sixty kilometres away, Baba Jan was tortured, convicted and then acquitted on appeal. He came second in the elections in 2015 while imprisoned and was tipped to win a by-election. Now our comrade, who is vice-president of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) of Pakistan and leader of the party in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, was sentenced by the Supreme Court of Appeal in this region occupied and administered by Pakistan, on June 8, 2016, to 40 years in prison and a fine of 500,000 rupees, under a special law, called "anti-terrorist." Eight other activists - Iftikhar Hussain, Aleem, Irfan Ali, Shukurullah Baig, Sarfraz, Rasheed, Musa and Sher Khan – received the same sentence. 
Appeal for international solidarity: Free Baba Jan and 11 other political activists and stop the abuse of anti-terrorism
By Awami Workers Party
July 11, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On the 8th of June 2016, the Supreme Appellate Court in Gilgit-Baltistan upheld the decision of an Anti-Terrorist Court in GB in September 2014 and sentenced Baba Jan (central leader of the left-wing Awami Workers Party - Gilgit Baltistan) and 11 other activists to 40 year prison terms under the Anti-Terrorist Act. The three-member SAC bench gave a two-to-one split verdict on the state’s appeal against the unanimous decision of the Gilgit Baltistan Chief Court two-member bench to acquit Baba Jan and others of terrorism and violence charges in April 2015.
Despite what the severity of the sentence appears to imply, Baba Jan and his companions are not militants who had taken up arms against the state – they are progressive political activists and organizers who had simply raised their voice for the plight of displaced persons of the 2010 natural disaster in Attabad, Hunza and organized them against government corruption and delay in payment of the compensation funds and their resettlement.
By Farooq Tariq
July 9, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières -- Religious terrorism has become one of the major challenges for most of the countries in Asia, particularly in South and West Asia. It has resulted in a seemingly nonstop bombings, suicidal attacks and other means of terrorism.
Gilgit Baltistan (Pakistan): AWP launch mass campaign against Baba Jan and other activists’ prison sentence
June 22, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Awami Workers' Party -- Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Appellate Court’s decision to overturn Chief Court’s acquittal of Baba Jan and 11 other Awami Workers Party activists is politically motivated. It does not meet the standards of impartiality and fairness. “If highlighting this shortcoming of the short order is tantamount to contempt of court, I am in contempt of court,” Awami Workers' Party (AWP) Pakistan president Abid Hassan Minto said on June 15.
He was addressing a press conference to announce launching of a mass campaign for Baba Jan and other activists’ immediate release and cancellation of all politically-motivated cases registered against them on trumped up charges of terrorism.
Pakistan: Politics dictates justice in Gilgit Baltistan as socialists sentenced to jail on trumped up terrorism charges
By Farooq Tariq
June 13, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Awami Workers Party -- On 9th June 2016, the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit Baltistan sentenced Baba Jan and 11 other political activists to 40-year prison terms in a case based on trumped up charges of terrorism, rioting and assault.
The court was hearing the state’s appeal against the GB Chief Court’s decision to acquit Baba Jan and others of these charges. The Chief Court had set aside Baba Jan and others’ conviction in the matter by an anti-terrorism court in September, 2014.
Their ‘crime’ was that they had raised their voices for the thousands of families affected by the massive landslides of 2010. The landslides had caused an artificial lake in the Attabadarea of Hunza in 2010, rendering homeless thousands of families. Baba Jan and other activists had mobilised the people of the region, holding scores of demonstrations, to seek fair compensation and social support for these families.
Pakistan: Fear and dissent in Okara; plus Okara Dispossessions: From Jhanglees to Murabba holders to Faltus
Political prisoner Baba Jan.
By Farooq Tariq, general secretary Awami Workers Party, Pakistan
June 11, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was one of best votes for any left candidate during an general election held in Pakistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan for decades.
Imprisoned Baba Jan, candidate of Awami Workers Party (AWP), won 4641 votes and came second during the Gilgit Baltistan legislative assembly election held on June 8, 2015.
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) candidate got 8245 votes and won the seat. The winning candidate is the former ruler of the Hunza estate who had with billions of rupees at his disposal.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which won the seat in the 2009 election, trailed behind Baba Jan with 3201 votes, while the newly established bourgeois party of cricketer Imran Khan, Tehreek Insaaf (Justice Movement), was in fourth position with 2291 votes. The religious Shia party Majlis Wahadat Muslimeen (MWM) came fifth with 1041 votes, and the candidate of the party of former dictator General Musharaf, the All Pakistan Muslim League, was last on 254.
Click HERE for more on Pakistan.
By Farooq Tariq, Lahore
May 25, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Baba Jan, a federal committee member of the Awami Workers Party (AWP), is contesting the election for the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly seat (Hunza-6) from behind bars. He is in jail serving a life sentence handed down by an anti-terrorism court last year for raising his voice against police brutality and for the rights of Atabad disaster hit people.
This is the first time in the history of Gilgit-Baltistan, a disputed territory administered by Pakistan, that an election campaign has been run from prison..
Elections for the 34-seat rubber-stamp assembly is going to be held on June 8, 2015. The provincial election commission’s decision to allow him to contest the poll has surprised many and triggered an enthusiasm among the youth, who consider Baba Jan a symbol of resistance.
Baba Jan and his group had boycotted the last general elections in 2009. The Pakistan People’s Party won the seat but has lost most of its credibility during its five years in power, because of corruption.
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4210.]
Por Farooq Tariq
Sábado, 20 de diciembre de 2014 -- Viento Sur -- Ha sido el ataque más mortífero realizado contra una escuela por los fanáticos religiosos. En la Escuela Pública del Ejército [una de las cerca de 150 creadas y gestionadas por el ejército. ndr] hubo 146 víctimas. Entre ellas, 136 niños con edades comprendidas entre 10 y 17 años. A los niños se les pidió que recitaran el Kalma [ver: http://ismaili.net/heritage/node/10521] y luego les dispararon. Fue un ataque de fánaticos musulmames contra niños musulmanes.
El Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan se atribuyó la responsabilidad y envió una foto de los siete militantes que participaron en la "operación" portando armas y bombas. Lo hicieron depués de que se publicaran en la web los rostros de los siete militantes muertos, asesinados por el ejército en el contraataque, no antes de que ellos causaron el daño máximo.
Los fanáticos afirmaron que no mataron niños pequeños, que su "islam" no les permite asesina a niños del "enemigo" menores de 12 años. Casi el 11% de los niños matriculados en la escuela murieron en los primeros 15 minutos que tuvieron ocupada la escuela.
Tariq Ali appeared on the December 18, 2014, episode of Democracy Now! (text below).
By Farooq Tariq
December 19, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It was the most deadly attack on any school by religious fanatics: 146 were killed in a Peshawar Army Public School, including 136 children, ages ranging from 10 to 17 years. The attackers asked the children to recite the Kalma and then fired at them. It was an attack on Muslim children by Muslim fanatics.
Tehreek Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility and sent a group photo of the seven militants who took part in the “operation” holding guns and bombs. This was in response to the posting online of the dead faces of the seven who were killed by the army in the counter attack, not before they caused maximum damage.
"The issue of election rigging is just a cover for Imran Khan. His real motives include covert opposition to the military operation against Tehreek-e-Taliban, opposition to the PMLN’s attempt to put Musharraf on trial and to cover-up the performance of the Khayber Pukhtoon Khawa provincial government."
By Farooq Tariq
August 30, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Claims and counter claims by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf (PTI), Mullah Tahir Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and the governing party of Pakistan, the Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN), of who contacted the army chief first for “mediation” or “facilitation” have puzzled the vast majority of people in Pakistan.
Baba Jan, a popular leader of the struggle who was jailed and tortured by Pakistani authorities until 2013, leads a April 19 protest rally in Aliabad, Hunza Valley, in support of the charter of demands of the Awami Action Committee. This photo and those below from PYF Gilgit Baltistan Facebook page.
UPDATE (April 24): Syed Asad Hasan, Green Left Weekly's on-the-spot informant in Gilgit shares a strong frustration felt by the thousands still occupying the city's Gadi Bagh square:
“Throughout today some 10,000 people would have taken part in the sit-in. The sit-in has been going since April 15 and there is another big occupation going on in the city of Skardu. Yet there has been no Pakistani TV coverage of this protest. And very little other media coverage.
“The chief secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha, the head of the local government bureaucracy, has been fired as he was the person who signed the order to end the wheat subsidy. But this part of a pass-the-blame game that the Pakistani federal government and the local puppet government of Gilgit Baltistan are continuing to play.
“The people are shaking the authorities but they are trying to keep this quiet. But the protesters spirit is very strong and the occupation is continuing.”
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Farooq Tariq, Awami Workers Party: 'Left unity a precious gain amid right-wing advances in Pakistan'
April 10, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One of the international guests at the 10th national conference of the Socialist Alliance, to be held in Sydney June 7-9, 2014, will be Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) in Pakistan. Conference organiser and Green Left Weekly correspondent Peter Boyle interviewed Tariq on April 10. He will speak on "The struggle for democracy and justice in Pakistan" on June 7 at the Addison Road Community Centre, Marrickville, Sydney.
Get your ticket here.
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It has been nearly a year and a half since the Awami Workers Party was formed out of a merger of the Awami Party Pakistan, the Labour Party Pakistan and the Worker’s Party Pakistan. How is this united party going today?