GILGIT: Section 144 was imposed in Skardu on Wednesday, a day after sectarian violence claimed at least 16 lives and injured over 50 others in Gilgit and Chilas town.
Hundreds of protestors took to the streets in Skardu, protesting the killings.
Four police officials were injured and a petrol pump was torched by a mob protesting against the Gilgit attack.
The clash erupted in Hoto area of Skardu, the largest town of the region after Gilgit.
Cellphone services jammed in Gilgit
On the directives of Interior Minister Rehman Malik, mobile phone services were jammed in Gilgit.
“The step has been taken on the directives of Interior Minister Rehman Malik,” a source said.
Communication has come to a standstill following jamming of the cellphone services and a strict curfew that has also been imposed to overcome the riots that broke out after unidentified men lobbed a hand grenade on the protest rally of Ahle Sunnat Waljamaat (ASWJ).
It could not be ascertained when the communication system will be restored and when the curfew will be lifted.
Currently, bullet proof vehicles of the army and other security forces are patrolling the deserted roads of Gilgit.
Chief Minister Gilgit Mehdi Shah is in Naudero to offer fateha for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on his 33rd death anniversary.
At the same time, the curfew has also been extended to the adjacent area of Danyore after a man was killed there.
More than 20 people went missing in Nagar valley on Tuesday, who were reportedly Sunnis. They have not yet been traced. They were kidnapped in reaction to the Chilas incident where about 10 Shia passengers had been killed.
Three of the missing people including District Health Officer Rasheed, Civil Judge Inayat and Bank manager Habib, who were reportedly abducted by armed men from the vehicle of the regional Finance Minister Mohammad Ali Akhtar somewhere in Nagar valley.
According to Rashid’s family, he had last contacted them at about 1:45pm on Tuesday, since then his cellphone remained switched off.
The Deputy Commissioner Hunza-Nagar district told The Express Tribune earlier on Tuesday that investigations were underway in order to find out the whereabouts of the missing persons.
Earlier late Tuesday, the elders of Chilas took some 250 other Shia passengers in custody, including women and children stranded in Chilas, and handed them over safely to the Gilgit administration.
In Gilgit, security forces by late night evacuated dozens of students and teachers who were stranded in schools and colleges in the wake of intense shelling and imposition of curfew.
All the educational institutions were closed and examinations due on Wednesday were postponed.
Protests were held in Skardu, Ghizer and Astore valley against the violence demanding punishment to culprits.
A number of residents told The Express Tribune that they had been running short of food items in their homes.
An investigative report entailing the details of Tuesday’s sectarian attack has been compiled and forwarded to authorities.
According to the report, 40 motorcyclists intercepted the vehicles with the passengers on board. Reportedly, the locals also supported the assailants, who started hurling stones at the passengers.
In order to save their lives, the passengers got off the vehicles are started running for their lives.
They were then beaten by the assailants. Later, nine passengers were killed, while four jumped into a nearby river.
Superintendent of Police Jamshed ordered for shelling to disperse the mob. Assailants also injured SP Jamshed and other police officials.
The report further states that the assailants torched four buses.