Sectarian violence aftermath: Section 144 imposed in Skardu

Published: April 4, 2012

Hundreds of protestors took to the streets in Skardu, protesting the killings. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

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.

Investigative report

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.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • faraz khan
    Apr 4, 2012 - 12:32PM

    More death and misery due to religion.What has our society’s obsession with religion gotten us except for bloodshed and violence.Allowing religion to interfere in the affairs of the government will always lead to disaster.First,pakistan’s name was changed by adding the word ”islamic” to the country’s name long after Jinnah had died,then the constitution was changed to give religion a central role in the people’s lives.then different laws and policies were enacted in the name of religion which cause untold harm till today.
    Separation of state and religion is a must if our country is to survive.

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  • behzad bilwany
    Apr 4, 2012 - 12:37PM

    One sect’s rally is attacked and people murdered,then the other sects’ buses are attacked in retaliation.we’ve seen the same pattern of sectarian violence in karachi also,where both sects are busy in killing lawyers of each others sects.what has this sectarian violence actually achieved?
    this fixation with proving that my sect is better than yours has led to hatred in our people.
    This taking of religion too seriously has destroyed the social fabric.religion should be a personal affair,this trend of displaying exhibitionist religious rituals does no one any good.

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  • Ashraf P
    Apr 4, 2012 - 12:43PM

    The nation of Pakistan is falling apart at the seams. Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. Soon Pakistan will have the honour of being the most violent nation on earth – if it is not already.

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  • Mir
    Apr 4, 2012 - 1:03PM

    will government take any action against extremism,fanaticism,sectarianism rather blocking cellphone services and internet. the state has weakened it will take years to build strong and efficient intstitutions, if our leaders intend to.

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  • Sskiani
    Apr 4, 2012 - 1:28PM

    Banning a militant group is not a solution, ban or hang persons who challenge the writ of Government, An unbiased crack down is needed to cope this sectarian issue, Residents of the area are peace lovers but failure of Govt and ill wills of religious clerics are accountable for all the blood shed. The presence of more then 50 security barriers within the area of 4 kilometers of Gilgit city which are guarded by 100s of Punjab rangers are worthless because culprits still kill people and escape easily. when the firing clash starts one can only imagine the roars of the guns and in retaliation when govt starts the anti arm clean up they come up by capturing only some out dated arms. Citizens are forced to keep arms for their own safety.

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  • Liaqat ali
    Apr 4, 2012 - 1:34PM

    Shame on our judiciary, if they would have nt set free the terrorists to ye sub kuhvh nahi hota

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  • REBEL
    Apr 4, 2012 - 1:46PM

    Is it a mere coincidence that GB was a peaceful valley before it got its own assembly and MQM won the assembly seats in the elections? Will GB turn out to be another Karachi?

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  • Reasoner
    Apr 4, 2012 - 1:50PM

    @behzad bilwany:
    “”One sect’s rally is attacked “”" since when banned terrorist party SSP/ASWJ has become a sect ?

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  • Proud Indian
    Apr 4, 2012 - 1:51PM

    So that’s the reason why Pakistan was created so that Muslims could kill each others in the name of religion freely.

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  • Jarrar rizvi
    Apr 4, 2012 - 2:33PM

    these tit for tat killings have been going on for decades in pakistan.One sect’s militants attack anothers rally with grenades and in return the other militants attack people of the other sect.
    How many more lives have to be lost before we learn how to co-exist with each other.
    What benefit has pakistan gotten by sectarian violence?

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  • Noor
    Apr 4, 2012 - 2:39PM

    The most shocking aspect of this horrendous episode is the non-serious attitude of GB’s Governor and Chief Minister.

    Why was it vital for the CM to be in Naudero, to offer Fateha?

    What makes the lives and safety of the 2.5 million people of GB inferior to a symbolic, ritualistic, voyage to Garhi Khuda Bakhsh?

    Does Allah Almighty not listen to prayers that are offered from top of the mountains?

    The Governor and Chief Minister, along with their useless cabinet, should be removed by PPP immediately, if they are too thick-skinned and decide to continue their misrule, even after failing to stop two massacres in two months.

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  • maasi
    Apr 4, 2012 - 2:54PM

    provide sustenance and means to do so to every citizen; this violence will disappear.

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  • Gilgiti-No voting right but Proud Pakistani
    Apr 4, 2012 - 3:17PM

    Rahman Malik can only do this…
    MR. Malik is the responsible of the current situation in G-B, few days back he came to the region and he give nonsense statement to the media that this group is involved and that group is involved, without having knowledge of the area, he just came and meet to one part only and take few decisions, that decision is the main cause of the current unrest..
    For immediate peace in the region he sould take the following steps.

    1) take strong and free operation against those who have weapons and clean Gilgit from weapons.( the ground reality is that the teriorist is papolar in particular area from Jutial to Basin) if GOV is interested then it’s a small area.
    2) Take all the stake holders into confidence, Gilgit is not owned by any particular group , this is a land of all
    3) Take a guarantee from The MULLAS ( Shia and Suni) for future interruption, because they knew every thing beyond there violence.
    God bless my city Hijacked by terrorist and opportunist, our trade, education and even life are at risk.

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  • The Sacred Flower
    Apr 4, 2012 - 3:22PM

    I am a resident of GB, I love Pakistan and I know everyone else from the area does the same, probably more than others because we liberated it ourselves and we paid a huge price for liberation. Please read this paper to know the reasons why Government of Pakistan is
    deliberately destabilizing the area.

    http://www.pildat.org/Publications/publication/Conflict_Management/GB-SectarianConflit-BackgroundPaperEng-May2011.pdf

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  • mentelisco
    Apr 4, 2012 - 3:51PM

    The CM is in naudero!!! what a govt!
    Long live the Army for taking care of the citizens.

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  • Jibran
    Apr 4, 2012 - 4:11PM

    One sect (rather cult) has disturbed the peace of any place throughout the world where ever it has presence, no matter how small it is. This is not just happening today, the traces go back to its origin a couple of centuries ago. It is the only religion (or sect) in the world that preaches and justifies violence. There is no distinction between children or women or non-combatants when it comes to their ideology of hate and vengeance. Unfortunately, there are no moderates in their fold.

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  • zehra
    Apr 4, 2012 - 4:19PM

    secretarian strife is being fuelled unnessecarily but it is strange to see ET covering it, where it totally lacked reporting parachinar and earlier voilence, but finally it got sense.

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  • zehra
    Apr 4, 2012 - 4:20PM

    oh pls stop blaming mqm for everything, ppp is not a innocent babe!

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  • Super Star
    Apr 4, 2012 - 4:26PM

    Super show and performance by the religion of peace! Good to see other provinces of Pak carching up with the rest.

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  • Jibran
    Apr 4, 2012 - 4:38PM

    @Proud Indian:
    I am also getting the jist of two nation theory now.

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  • adam
    Apr 4, 2012 - 4:40PM

    I hail this approach of ET for pasting this photo with the message where as the organized killing of shia is going on from South to North and East to West in Pakistan. It is amazing ET, seems that now you have joined the number 4.

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  • Reasoner
    Apr 4, 2012 - 5:00PM

    Shame of ET for incorrect caption on above picture !
    SSP/ASWJ has virtually no presence in Baltistan region especially in Skardu city !
    It seems ET’s editors are deliberately trying to fan the flames of violence !

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  • Raj - USA
    Apr 4, 2012 - 5:53PM

    @faraz khan:
    You are absolutely correct. Belonging to any particular religion is nothing to be proud of. Even following the noble principles in any religion is nothing to be proud of. Pride is against the teachings of any religion. I have heard many claiming with pride “I am a Muslim”. In fact the person so proudly making such claim is not a Muslim at all and he wants to overcome his own conscious that keeps him reminding so. This is one of the reason, we often read that Islam is such and such, Islam does not teach this, or that someone is not a true muslim, etc. Just saying Islam is such and such is meaningless. What others see is what is really being practiced. Saying Islam does not teach us this or that is also meaningless. Who is it that they want to convey this message? If it is Muslims, is meaningless as Muslims are supposed to know and practice Islam. If you are telling this to a non-muslim, what is the purpose as the non-muslim does not know Islam anyway. Calling someone “not a true muslim” is just a way of saying that you are superior and knowledgeable to pass a judgement on others. This leads to sectarian thinking. Changing Pakistan to Islamic Republic was a great mistake. I was so surprised when the recent polls showed that most Pakistanis consider themselves as Muslims first and Pakistanis later. One should be proud of being a citizen of a country but should not be, and rather be humble in following any particular religion. This talk of Muslim first and Pakistani later is the reason that Pakistanis do not care for Pakistan. In Developed countries like USA, even those who have acquired the citizenship by naturalization are proud to be citizens and all citizens are considered equal irrespective of their religion of race. They are also expected to follow the uniform laws of the Country and get equal protection from the laws of the country.

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  • ALi
    Apr 4, 2012 - 6:35PM

    “Sunnioun ka qatal e aam”…this is heights of bias from media. In January 54 shias killed. In Feb 73 shias killed. In March and April more than 35. And now we have a picture showing this.

    Is ET run by wahabis? who keep silent when shias are killed and cry a lot when sunnis are killed?

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  • betterwords
    Apr 4, 2012 - 7:33PM

    Untill unless Islam is in the hands of “Jahil mullahs” we will never see peace

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  • Proud Indian
    Apr 4, 2012 - 9:43PM

    @Jibran:
    Two nation theory has been proved wrong specially with the creation of Bangladesh.

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  • Indian Boy
    Apr 4, 2012 - 9:50PM

    @faraz khan:
    That seems difficult in the current scenario but you are right. You people have the example of India in front of you where religion has noting to do with state affairs. We had a Muslim President and now a Sikh Prime Minister.

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  • jiljal
    Apr 4, 2012 - 10:55PM

    Feeling sad for the loss of lives of human beings………..

    Happy to see the evolution going toward liberal thought leaving religion aside that kept the GBians divided for centuries

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  • pakistanicitzen
    Apr 5, 2012 - 12:23AM

    Two nation theory has been proved wrong specially with the creation of Bangladesh

    it’s correct although terms became slightly correct now
    pure islamic people (following prophet ,his tribes and generations)

    2: un-islamic kuffars (nation-lovers,kafirs,language-lovers,mushriks,etc,etc)Recommend

  • Hussain Nagri
    Apr 5, 2012 - 1:08AM

    Dear Shabir Mir Sahib… Express Tribune is a wide reading news across the Globe for reliable news……But the problem is some journalists r vocalizing the Sectarian volatile scenario of Gilgit Baltistan at one sided…….There should be truth regardless cast, creed and religion as you a journalist from Gilgit Baltistan. You are an eye witness of the Gilgit Violence. You know well that No Hand grenade was thrown on Rally but some culprits were trying to throw it on Police man and it burst out in the hand of a culprit. There should be a code of conduct to provide information from print and electronic media to uphold standards of morality, fairness, accuracy, respect of privacy. All the journalists should avoid slanderous, libelous, biased and unconfirmed reports. The content that encourages terrorist or incites discrimination or hatred on grounds of religion, or sect which again disgrace the journalist or tends to undermine the integrity of Gilgit Baltistan should be avoided.
    In above picture you are trying to show nothing except protection to Terrorists of Kohistan and Chilas Killings………What Else….Can you please answer me whether in Kohistan on 28th February, 16 Sunnis Killed? Or Yesterday (3rd April, 2012) in Chilas, District Diamer 15 Sunnis after checking their ID cards and identifying with names like Ali, Hussain, Hassan, Abbas Killed…or in Konodas the street walker who were on way to their home to Danyore, Jalalabad and Nagar had been shot dead………..No they were all Shia Istha Ashries…….Even in Gilgit What is going on/or to be, due to discrimination or one sided news.
    I appreciate there should be freedom of expression and public awareness on the real issues…..I am not favoring Shias or Sunnis terrorist activities in Gilgit Baltistan……….But we should provide the true and existent stories to discourage the extremist of any sect. This should be our Mission to create harmony among all sects who are tenants of Gilgit Baltistan since many eras.
    Thank you.

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  • Pakistani
    Apr 5, 2012 - 1:35AM

    @ALi:
    Brother…… Please don’t make comments like these ie what about Shias killed. Whether they are from any sect they are all pakistanis. Majority of the Pakistanis don’t care about the sects. They want to get on with their lives and take care of their families.

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  • huzaifa
    Apr 5, 2012 - 5:16PM

    silence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Apr 6, 2012 - 11:01PM

    All those buses were torched in my village.. v sad.. dont know whats going on..

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  • Apr 6, 2012 - 11:44PM

    v sad

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  • Raj - USA
    Apr 7, 2012 - 5:52AM

    @Pakistani:

    “Whether they are from any sect they are all pakistanis.”

    This is the line I liked most. You are true to your Name – Pakistani. You are a rare exception because you mentioned “they are all Pakistanis” unlike some others who may have commented “they are all Muslims

    Lage Raho Pakistani. Jug Jug Jeyo !!!!!!

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