The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed serious alarm at the continuing loss of life in sectarian strife in Gilgit-Baltistan and demanded that the government, political parties and civil society organisations join hands to bring peace to the area at the earliest.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the commission said, “HRCP has watched with growing concern the reprehensible and lengthening shadow of sectarian bloodshed in Gilgit-Baltistan and condemns it unequivocally.”
“The relative calm in Gilgit following the imposition of curfew and deployment of troops is a tense one… and retaliatory attacks and incidents of hostage-taking have been reported amid concerns that the authorities have responded only to some of the more violent incidents and are proceeding in a reactive manner,” the statement read.
“HRCP is very concerned about people facing great difficulties as provisions and food stocks, even milk for children, have run low. In hospitals, medicines are scarce and food is being rationed as curfew has continued without a break. Those who have provided shelter to others irrespective of sect or faith and out of concern for human life, find their own lives at risk. Everything must be done to ensure safety and protection for their lives and property.”
The commission said it would be naïve to think that the scars of the events of the last few days in Gilgit-Baltistan would go away by imposing curfew and shutting down cellular phone services or by preaching calm.
“The monumental task of healing the wounds and promoting sectarian harmony must begin at the earliest in consultation with the affected communities and should be persisted with. Political parties must desist from indulging in point scoring. And in addition to publicly expressing their unambiguous condemnation for violence they should also share with people their vision for controlling the situation and preventing recurrence of such senseless violence in the future. They should join hands with the government to help implement that objective,” it said.
“Those who have fanned the strife in Gilgit-Baltistan must be identified and held to account as must those who pulled the trigger in target killings. In fact, there is every reason to pay equally urgent attention to contain the continuing bloodletting based on sectarian identity in Quetta, Karachi and elsewhere in the country.”
Published in Daily Times