Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government on Wednesday welcomed the decision to award death penalties to terrorists involved in the massacre of foreign climbers at the Nanga Parbat base camp in 2013.
The support from G-B government came a day after Army Chief General Raheel Sharif signed death warrants of 13 militants convicted of terrorism-related offences, including the massacre of 10 foreign mountaineers at a base camp of Pakistan’s second highest mountain.
The execution will be the first for an act of terrorism in G-B. Irfan Ullah Khudayar was condemned to death by a military court for the attack on foreign climbers. A faction of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed credit for the attack, which shocked the world and scarred the country’s climbing tourism industry.
On that fateful night of June 24, 2013, gunmen dressed in Gilgit Scouts uniforms stormed the camp and shot dead 10 foreign hikers – including one American with dual Chinese citizenship, two other Chinese, three Ukrainians, two Slovakians, one Lithuanian, one Nepalese and a Pakistani guide.
“We welcome and support the decision against terrorists,” said the G-B Parliamentary Secretary on Law Aurangzeb Khan Advocate, while speaking at a press conference in the Chief Minister Camp Office, Gilgit.
He expressed hope that the other perpetrators of the heinous crime would also be tracked down, arrested and brought to justice. Aurangzeb was accompanied by Minister for Works Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Parliamentary Secretary on Minerals Iqbal Hassan and CM’s Advisor Farooq Mir.
Land for CPEC
Speaking about land allotted to security forces for protecting the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Aurangzeb said that some properties in question were already sub judice due to disputes among communities. However, the government would honour court verdict as and when it comes no matter which community benefits from it. “We will give in writing that court decision will be implemented in true spirit,” Aurangzeb said.
The comments follow Pakistan Peoples Party G-B President Amjad Hussain’s recent press conference in which he accused the government of snatching whatever little land people had in the name of CPEC.
With 22 members in G-B assembly, PML-N is the real custodian of peoples rights, he said. “PPP is trying to keep itself alive by making hue and cry over non issues,” he said, adding a party with a single seat in a 33 member assembly cannot befool the people.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2016.
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