G-B: Amidst tense calm, curfew relaxed for 3 hours in Gilgit

Published: April 10, 2012

For a second time, residents were permitted to restock on food and medicine supplies in Gilgit on Monday. PHOTO: FILE

GILGIT: 

Authorities relaxed a curfew in the violence-hit Gilgit town on Monday to allow residents to replenish food and medical supplies.

Army troops were called out and a curfew was imposed last Tuesday after clashes between Shia and Sunni communities left 16 people dead in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Residents were allowed to buy food and medical supplies between 2pm and 5pm. They flocked to local markets to make good use of the relaxation in curfew.

However, communication networks could not be restored – and few motorists and truckers ventured out on the Karakoram Highway, the strategically important route which is the lifeline for local economy.

Since supplies from outside have dried up, food and medical stocks in seven districts of G-B are dwindling rapidly.

After 5pm, the curfew was re-imposed and residents were asked to return to their homes as security forces started patrolling roads and streets amidst a tense calm.

In the meantime, security forces have raided suspected houses in the Basin neighbourhood of the town and detained a dozen men for their suspected involvement in stoking sectarian unrest. They were later shifted to an unknown location for questioning.

Nagir Valley captives

Though G-B has a long history of sectarian unrest – the fresh trouble started on Tuesday when masked men attacked a Sunni rally with a hand grenade in the Shia-dominated Gilgit town, killing six people and injuring dozens more.

Reprisals came from the Sunni-dominated Chilas town, where passenger buses were attacked and then put on fire. At least 10 Shia people were killed in these retaliatory attacks.

In a tit-for-tat, 31 persons, mainly Sunni day labourers from outside G-B, were held hostage in Nagar Valley.

Authorities have been unable to secure their release despite several rounds of talks with the elders of the Shia community.

According to sources, the community has authorised a local cleric, Agha Rahat, to decide the fate of hostages, who include a district health officer from Astore, a civil judge and 29 labourers.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2012.

Reader Comments (6)

  • Amjad
    Apr 10, 2012 - 11:14AM

    “the fresh trouble started on Tuesday when masked men attacked a Sunni rally with a hand grenade”

    It was a Sipah-e-Sahaba rally demanding release of a Sipah e Sahaba militant who was arrested for involvement in the Kohistan massacre. Why don’t you call a spade a spade! please state the facts as they are instead of molding them to suit your biases

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  • Human
    Apr 10, 2012 - 5:15PM

    Shame that tribune is gone biased and twisting stories. The report also missed to mention that there are many people from Gilgit and Skardu gone missing in Chilas when they are attacked by militants who were waiting to hear the same what exactly happend in Gilgit. I agree to Amjad who right pointed out this that the rally was organized to demand release of a most militant leader arrested after the incidence in Kohistan in which 18 shia travelers were killed in a very barbaric way. This also tiggered killings in the area. The shia majority areas no one hurt so far in both incidence.

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  • Gilgiti-No voting right but Proud Pakistani
    Apr 10, 2012 - 10:18PM

    so this mean shia are so peace full???? good to talk and express , how about the target killing in Giligt during the year ( around 35 so far),and how u prof that the really was belong to spha shaba??? please don’t try to gather sympathies unnecessary, be fair with yourself both of these Shia and suni make life terrible in G-B,,,, they are educated terrorist

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  • imam
    Apr 11, 2012 - 6:51AM

    exactly rally was organized by the sunni community under the banner of ehle sunnat wajamat and they were asking to release their leader arrested for gilgit voilence not for kohistan massacre..dnt try to fuel the situation..gilgit baltistan is home land of people of GB whethear they are sunni shia or ismalia or norbakhsia ….v need unity not bifercation..v condemn killing in chilas in the same time v also condemn killings in gilgit where grenade was th rown into peacefull rally..v also condemn killing of 1 ismailia and two sunnis in sultan abad shia majority areas..v need to look in to our self before pointing fingers to others..God bless Gilgit baltistan

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Apr 11, 2012 - 9:39AM

    @Gilgiti-No voting right but Proud Pakistani: Two questions for you – what currency do you use and which passport do you carry ?

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  • Gilgiti- no voting right but proud pakistani
    Apr 11, 2012 - 7:32PM

    hahaha @ arjit sharma pakistani and pakistani thats y i said to be a proud pakistani,,, our appeal is only to bring the attention of our nation towrds our problems thats it we have no hury…

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