Fresh protests erupted across Gilgit-Baltistan on Friday against the killing of a father and son during a clash between the police and victims of Attabad lake landslide a day before.
The protesters have demanded immediate resignation from Chief Minister Mehdi Shah and Speaker Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Wazir Baig and have called for a judicial inquiry into the matter.
Over 2,000 people gathered in Gilgit’s Ittehad Chowk where leaders from various political parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz regional chief Hafizur Rehman and nationalist leader Nawaz Khan Naji addressed a rally.
“Mehdi Shah, you have lost the legitimacy of ruling the region. You should now step down,” Rehman said.
A representative of the victims of the Attabad tragedy, Aziz Ahmed, demanded that a FIR be registered against Chief Minister Shah, attributing the killings to Shah’s “inept government”. He also demanded a judicial investigation into the incident.
Protesters in Aliabad, the area of Hunza where the clash took place on Thursday, called for immediate arrest of the shooters and staged a demonstration with the bodies of Sher Ullah Baig and his son Sher Afzal.
In Gahkuch, the headquarters of Ghizer valley, a complete strike was observed as thousands of peoples participated in a rally.
Two people were killed on Thursday after police opened fire at rioters demanding compensation for the losses incurred after the Attabad landslide. Chief Minister Shah had, late Thursday night, ordered suspension of a deputy superintendent police and another official for mishandling the situation. He also announced that the family of the deceased will be paid Rs300,000 as compensation while those injured will be given free treatment.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.