Life across Hunza and Gojal came to a standstill on Saturday when residents observed a strike against an armed assault’ by the border traders’ mafia on unarmed residents of Gojal, officials said.
“The attack launched by the mafia not only injured 15 people but also disrespected the privacy of our houses,” said Aziz Ahmed, a politician from Gojal, adding that the attackers were backed by the local police. The situation turned ugly on Friday when a clash erupted between labourers in Gojal and Nagar at the Hussaini port.
“If the people of Gojal and Hunza had not demonstrated their traditional restraint, there would have been unprecedented bloodshed in the valley,” said Ahmed, adding that elements controlling the border trade between Pakistan and China were behind the violence.
A number of local residents said that at least 400 armed men from the adjoining valley wreaked havoc in the village. The men destroyed six houses and several vehicles before injuring men, women and children. They said that until the terrorists were apprehended, there would be no trade activity across the Pakistan-China border. Officials in Gilgit said that the situation had normalised and police launched investigations to arrest the troublemakers.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2011.