Protesters who blocked the Karakoram Highway in Chilas on Sunday, refused to open it for traffic on the second consecutive day, demanding that the police arrest the murderers of Abdul Wakil, who was target killed last week.
A resident of Chilas, Wakil, fell victim to sectarian violence in Gilgit. The city witnessed an upsurge in shooting incidents in which four people were killed and four others injured.
Wakil’s son, who was accompanying him at the time of the incident, said his father’s killers checked his national identity card before shooting him. Residents of Nagral, the place where Wakil was killed, said they handed over one of the killers to the police to prove they were against sectarianism.
Protesters have declared the highway will remain blocked till the murderers are arrested. Sources in the district administration said negotiations between the authorities and the protesters failed as they did not trust assurances given by officials.
Meanwhile, police in Gilgit said at least 12 people have been arrested so far and are being investigated. Since last Saturday, security forces have been given powers to shoot terrorists on sight.
“The blockade has left hundreds of vehicles stranded on both sides of the highway,” said a resident of Chilas. More than 5,000 protesters rejected the government’s request to clear the highway that serves as the only land route connecting Gilgit-Baltistan to the rest of the country and China.
While briefing reporters in Gilgit on Monday, the chief minister said a new security plan had been devised to contain violence in the city, but he did not elaborate.
Published in The Express Tribune