GILGIT: To ensure peace in Gilgit, the government is expediting efforts in bringing clerics of the two rivals sects involved in the Kohistan bus massacre to the negotiating table. This was said by a Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) legislator on Sunday.
The politician, asking not to be named, said that the government is making “hectic” efforts to bring Qazi Nisar Ahmed and Agha Rahat Hussaini of the Sunni and Shia sects respectively to sort out their differences.
He added that a grand jirga, comprising community elders, politicians, retired bureaucrats, religious leaders and social activists from both sects, has also been summoned in this regard.
The efforts are aimed to ensure that Sunnis and Shias live peacefully in future, he said.
With a long history of sectarian strife, Gilgit saw renewed clashes following the massacre in Kohistan, in which 16 Shias were hauled off busses and shot dead. Following the incident, the two religious clerics, Ahmed and Hussaini, formally put up their conditions to the authorities for peace that leave little room for a consensus, the official said.
While Shia clerics demand the settlement of the curriculum issue, as per the commitment made by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Sunni clerics have threatened to launch countrywide protests if any change was made to the existing curriculum, he explained.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2012.