Situation remains tense in GB despite curfew
GILGIT: A complete shutter-down strike was being observed in Skardu and adjoining areas on Wednesday following a day of violent incidents in Gilgit-Baltistan claiming at least 14 lives while injuring over 50 others.
The unrest has prompted the government to deploy troops and impose a curfew.
The government on Wednesday also imposed section 144 in Skardu, and show of arms was forbidden, after five more people, including a police officer, were injured during the day.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has issued orders to suspend communication services until restoration of peace in the area.
Educational institutions were closed and attendance in the government offices remained thin, while traffic was also less than normal, as the situation remained volatile despite clamping of curfew.
“Control of law and order situation in GB is our priority and the government would utilize all resources to ensure peace in the northern areas,” the interior minister said Wednesday.
Malik was talking to Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs, Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo, who met with him to discuss security situation in GB.
Chief Minister of GB, Syed Mehdi Shah was also present in the meeting.
Both the ministers urged holding of dialogue to ensure peace in GB.
Malik said federal government was taking all-out measures in collaboration with GB authorities to control law and order situation there.
Riots had broken out after unidentified men lobbed a hand grenade at a protest rally of Ahl-i-Sunnat Waljamaat (ASWJ) on Tuesday.
The Ahl-i-Sunnat Waljamaat (ASWJ) group, a reincarnation of the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, was observing a strike on Tuesday to press the government for the release of its leader. A group of workers of the party reached the Etihad Chowk in Gilgit. When they were trying to force shopkeepers to close their shops, unknown people threw a grenade on them. Dozens of people were injured.
Within minutes, firing broke out that lasted for about five hours.
It appeared as if the entire city was under attack as firing took place in various localities. Panicked residents holed themselves up in their homes and the streets and markets were rapidly emptied of people.
Law-enforcement personnel were unable to control the situation despite resorting to firing till curfew was imposed and troops appeared on the roads.