Tag Archive | "khoistan killings"

Killing of innocent people in Kohistan by Ejaz Karim

Demonstrations all over Gilgit – Baltistan including (Diamer and Chilas-pure Sunni areas) are testimony of peace and harmony among the people of the region. People of Gilgit – Baltistan want peace and still I believe they are peaceful and human loving people.

History of sectarian killing in Gilgit is not a new issue. One cannot relinquish the atrocities of a brutal dictator General Zia in Gilgit. He filled entire Pakistan including Gilgit with religious extremist and terrorists. A brutal military dictator sowed the seed of the menace in the Gilgit in 1988– who massacred hundreds of innocent people and destroyed entire villages.

Nevertheless, it is a challenge and time; for the federal Government, Government of Gilgit – Baltistan and people of the region to control over sectarian killing in Gilgit. However, I am sure if each segment plays its role positively and sincerely we can confront the menace of sectarianism the region. We can maintain peace and harmony by avoiding conflict and hate, if we want peace in the region we would have to think first being a human and we would have to think beyond our sectarian circles. There are certain measures that certainly would help us to encounter the problem:

First Government of Gilgit – Baltistan should be empowered enough to encounter the domestic terrorism. Enough financial, logistic, and technical support should give to Government of GB to counter terrorist and particularly Government should ensure security to passengers who are traveling from Islamabad to Gilgit or vice-versa and other long route within the region. Secondly, an independent transparent judicial inquiry should make of all those who have been responsible and involved in sectarian killing during 1988 and onward. Thirdly, Government should take action irrespective of sectarian favoritism. Fourth, point out the people and organizations behind the sectarian violence and penalize the responsible. leaders should come forward and give the education of love rather than hate, forgiveness rather than revenge. Last but not least, every segment of society should be involve to counter the menace of sectarian killing, particularly youth and students– backbone of a society; I believe they can play a decisive role in peace building, youth would have to realize their responsibly and try to be a stockholder in creating peace and harmony among the sect and people of Gilgit – Baltistan would have to realize the fact and reality instead of blaming others sects.

Being a common citizen of Gilgit and a rational student of political science, I do not believe in conspiracy theories.

By Ejaz Karim , Political scenic student at Fc College Lahore

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Heirs of Kohistan victims to get Rs2 million each

A host of new security measures and a revised compensation package helped avert a standoff between rival sects in Gilgit on Wednesday.

Tensions had peaked in the otherwise simmering region after 16 people belonging to the area, travelling from Rawalpindi to Gilgit, were shot in cold-blooded murder in Kohistan. Outlawed militant group Jundallah claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Rs2 million will be given to the heirs of the dead as compensation,” announced Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who flew to Gilgit early Wednesday.

Prior to the announcement, Malik met with clerics who had turned down the Rs0.5 million compensation package announced by Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Mehdi Shah. Earlier, the interior minister was briefed on the law and order situation in the region, especially in the aftermath of Tuesday’s killings that have widened the sectarian rift in G-B.

Beefing up security

Malik said that a special highway police would be deployed along the Karakoram Highway (KKH) and that Gilgit Scouts and Rangers would be granted powers to control the law and order situation in Gilgit.

“Half of the expenses on the highway police would be borne by the federal government,” Malik said, adding that additional recruitment in Gilgit Scouts would be made soon.

Tensions escalated in Gilgit after bodies of those killed in the Kohistan sectarian attack were flown in for burial. Protestors refused to bury the dead, demanding the arrest of the militants responsible for the attack, and Rs5 million as compensation to the families of every deceased.

The standoff was resolved, however, after Malik met clerics from both sects.

Fearing a spread of violence, the G-B government announced the closure of government offices and educational institutions till Friday, besides imposing section 144, which prohibits gathering of more than five people at a time in one place.

Elders decry use of Kohistan

Tribal elders at a jirga in Dassu, Kohistan blocked the KKH on Wednesday, in protest against the sectarian attack.

They criticised the attack on Shia pilgrims in Kohistan district, adding that both, the attackers and the deceased, were from G-B and appear to have settled scores against each other.

Distancing themselves from the attack, the elders warned of permanent suspension of vehicular traffic if any local is implicated in the case.

They did, however, offer support to the local police, assuring them of cooperation in the investigation.

Former lawmaker Maulana Dildar Ahmed and tribal elders from across the region were among the 400 participants of the jirga.

District Coordination Officer Kohistan Syed Aqil Shah also rejected the involvement of the local community in the attack, adding that it was the repercussion of the murder of a Sunni man in Chilas in early January this year.

The Sunni community blocked the KKH in Chilas for about four days, demanding the arrest of the attackers, believed to be Shia, and threatened to avenge the murder, the DCO said.

Meanwhile, according to police sources, heavy contingents of elite and paramilitary force and police have been dispatched to expected hideouts of attackers in the hilly areas of Harban Nalla but no arrests were made till the filing of this report.

A joint investigation team headed by Deputy Inspector-General Hazara Dr Naeem Khan has started gathering information in the case.

Cabinet’s condemnation

The federal cabinet condemned the Kohistan incident and the prime minister has called for a crackdown against the culprits, said Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan while addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The premier directed the interior minister to immediately rush to Gilgit-Baltistan and help the local government control the situation, she added.

(With additional reporting from Muhammad Sadaqat in DASSU KOHISTAN.)

Published in The Express Tribune

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