Did Indian media pass off 3-months old video of Pak’s Awami Workers’ Party as Gilgit secessionist rally?

Statement by the Awami Workers’ Party

Awami Workers Party rejects Indian press reports which portray a video of an AWP-Gilgit Baltistan election rally for Baba Jan as a separatist uprising against Pakistan. The video, originally shared by India-based Asian News International agency on August 13 2016, has now been shared by multiple Indian outlets as evidence of an ongoing separatist uprising in which hundreds of arrests have been made. The AWP rejects these reports as completely baseless.

The video being shared was from an election rally held on May 25, 2016, in Altit, Hunza as part of Baba Jan’s campaign for the Hunza-6 by-election for the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly. No separatist slogans were raised at any point in the campaign, which focused on calling for Baba Jan’s release, opposition to the corrupt ruling elite and a pro-people socialist alternative.

AWP calls on Indian news outlets to retract the baseless stories regarding this rally and adequately investigate the stories they are reporting on, rather than serving as a mouthpiece for government propaganda.

The AWP feels that the reports undermine the genuine concerns of the people of Gilgit Baltistan who have been engaged in a peaceful struggle for their rights. We call on both the Indian and Pakistani states to stop using the peaceful and democratic struggles of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Balochistan and elsewhere as fodder for propaganda and concentrate on improving human rights in the territories they govern.

We repeat our demand that Baba Jan and his comrades be released from jail and be allowed to partake in the politics of GB. AWP is committed to struggling for the democratic rights of the people of GB, including elections for a Constituent Assembly that could frame a Constitution for the region. We also stand for the due share of GB in CPEC, its role in the decision making process of such projects, protection of the fragile environment of the area and compensation to the people affected by mega projects according to international laws.

Farooq Tariq,
General Secretary,
Awami Workers Party