Release of Amanullah, others demanded
3 February 2006
Lahore: The Labour Party Pakistan and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front have condemned baton-charge on an anti-Bhasha dam rally in Rawalpindi and the arrest of its participants, including JKLF leader Amanullah Khan. In a statement issued here on Friday, LPP’s Farooq Tariq and JKLF’s Sardar Anwar Iqbal said the baton-charge and the arrests were an expression of dictatorship. They urged the government to release all those arrested. They also urged the government to cancel all mega projects, including Bhasha dam, because their implementation would lead to a mass migration of people. Such projects degraded environment. They alleged it had become a habit of the government to take anti-people steps in the name of development. They said Gilgit and Baltistan were disputed territories and their resources should be spent on their people. By grabbing natural resources of these areas, the government wanted to benefit capitalists. They alleged the people of Baltistan and Gilgit had been deprived of basic and democratic rights for the past 58 years. The government wanted to dislocate them by constructing a dam there. They urged the government to avoid imposing any decision on the people of these areas against their will and drop the idea of Bhasha dam. They said instead of big dams, the government must build small reservoirs and tap alternative sources of energy. Meanwhile, the Asr Resource Centre too has in a statement condemned the arrest of Amanullah Khan and others. It said the government must take decisions by agreement. It first announced the construction of Kalabagh dam, but withdrew it because of opposition by the people. Now it had announced the construction of Bhasha dam which was being opposed by the people of Azad Kashmir and Skardu because it would render a large number of the latter’s residents homeless. The government must keep in view the opinion and interest of the people before launching any project, and immediately release Mr Khan and others, it said.