Protests disrupt life, raise questions over G-B govt's ability

Many criticise CM Khushid for travelling to Islamabad without giving due attention to volatile situation in region

SHABBIR MIR July 04, 2022
Many criticised G-B CM Khalid Khurshid for travelling to Islamabad without giving due attention to the volatile situation. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Sit-ins and protest demonstrations continuing for nearly a week at various places in Gilgit and Hunza valley have disrupted routine life, raising serious questions over the government’s ability and resolve to handle the situation.

The protest in Gilgit town entered the seventh day on Monday, calling for the release of over a dozen men jailed who were involved in an armed clash with Rangers, resulting in the killing of two Rangers personnel and seven civilians including two women back in October 2005.

“It is a great injustice to all of us,” a relative told media outside a protest camp set up at captain Zamir Abbas Chowk in Gilgit. “The mental stress has caused psychological issues to my sisters while three brothers have passed away in the agony during these years,” he added.

Read more: G-B order 2018 triggers protest in Gilgit

The relatives accused the government of backing out of their words that assured them last year of a swift hearing and disposal of their case in a civilian court.

In addition to Captain Zamir Abbas Chowk, protesters also blocked roads at Amphari, Khomer and Khazana Road, crippling the movement of the residents.

In solidarity with the protestors, people in Nagar and some other parts also staged protest demonstrations creating hurdles for the travellers, mostly tourists who have flocked the region this summer.

Meanwhile, in the Nasirabad area of Hunza district, hundreds of residents were up in the arms against the issuance of a mineral lease to a private company. The protest continued for six days, resulting in roadblocks which created acute hardships for tourists to reach their destinations.

Also read: GB students, youth stage protest outside press club

G-B Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid has come under severe criticism for travelling to Islamabad without giving due attention to the volatile situation.

“Where is the chief minister? Has anyone seen him doing anything for G-B,” said a disgruntled trader who suffered because of the ongoing demonstrations.

Former CM Hafizur Rehman said that strikes and demonstrations wreaked havoc with G-B but the chief minister is too busy to look into it.

A senior local journalist Eiman Shah said that G-B has become the centre of bad governance and lawlessness due to the lack of attention by those at the helm of affairs.

Flaying his own government, a lawmaker said that the chief minister lacked the skills and wit to settle such things.

When contacted, Special Assistant to Chief Minister Ilyas Sadiqi said that a committee, consisting of an opposition leader and a senior minister, has been constituted to hold talks with the protestors. “I can tell you things are heading in the right direction and soon we will give you good news,” Sadiqi told The Express Tribune.


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