Protesters blocked the Karakoram Highway (KKH) for six hours in Nagar valley to demand the release of individuals wrongly detained by the police.
The six-hour blockade of the main highway on Saturday left scores of travellers, including local and foreign passengers, stranded at Rakaposhi Point, a tourists spot between Gilgit and Hunza.
Talking to The Express Tribune, a local resident of Nagar, requesting anonymity, accused the police of arresting innocent people “just to appease the judge who took action against the police” for failing to arrest a group of proclaimed offenders. He said this is the reason why the police are doing nothing to disperse the protesters and open the highway.
After sectarian clashes in Gilgit-Baltistan in early April, a group of armed men had held 35 people including a judge hostage for over a week in Nagar valley to avenge the killing of 10 passengers in Chilas. Although the hostages were released, the adductors remained at large.
Two days back, an Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) judge, Justice Raja Shahbaz, hearing the case had ordered police to arrest the responsible station house officer (SHO) for failing to arrest the culprits so far. He also reprimanded Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police Mehmoodul Hassan and Superintendent of Police Ishaq, and had also detained them in the court premises for sometime.
As the SHO was handcuffed in court, the DIG police, instead of sending the SHO to jail, called in a police squad and fled from the court along with the SHO and SP.
As the news spread, the home secretary and other senior government officials reached the court and brokered a reconciliation deal. As a result, the DIG and SP were brought back to court where they tendered an unconditional apology for their misconduct. Accepting their apology, the judge sent the SHO behind the bars with the punishment handed earlier remaining intact.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2012.
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