The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government barred traffic on the road linking Ghizer to Chitral via the Shandur Pass on Saturday after the ministry of interior warned of a possible attack similar to the Babusar massacre on the route.
“We cannot afford to allow traffic on the road due to security threats to passengers,” Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) G-B headquarters Ali Sher told The Express Tribune.
Officials of the G-B government informed that the ministry of interior recently wrote them a letter in which it warned about a possible terrorist attack on the Ghizer – Chitral road. The ministry stated that the attack could be similar to the ones that occurred in Babusar and Kohistan, in which passengers, mostly Shias, were hauled off of busses and shot dead, the officials said.
DIG Sher concurred with the interior ministry’s warning, saying that possibility of terrorists infiltrating into G-B has intensified as most of areas along the route are left unmanned by the end of the summer season.
Sher said the G-B government can provide security to transporters on the route in its territory, but added that these efforts will not suffice unless the government Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) fully reciprocates (on the route)the measures it is taking for the safety of travellers on the Karakoram Highway (KKH).
“But since the K-P government is already providing security to vehicles on the KKH, between Gilgit and Rawalpindi, it is not able to provide security to vehicles on the Ghizer – Chitral road,” he said. He added that during the summers, the G-B government had deputed police contingents along the route in Ghizer District as a precautionary measure.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2012.
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