Sectarian tensions: In Gilgit, rallies to foster harmony

Published: May 3, 2012
Locals refraining from visiting areas inhabited by people of the opposite sect.

Locals refraining from visiting areas inhabited by people of the opposite sect.


To promote sectarian harmony, the government is encouraging people to take out peace rallies and hold gatherings of mixed sects in the violence-hit capital of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

In the rallies and conferences already conducted, the speakers have called on the people to “take pity on their areas” and “foil conspiracies being hatched against them in the name of religion and sect”.

The town was divided into safe and ‘no-go areas’ after some of the worst bouts of sectarian violence in the region, further widening the existing gulf between the Shia and Sunni sects.

Senior Pakistan Peoples Party leader and G-B Council Member, Advocate Amjad Hussain, warned that more ‘no-go areas’ will sprout in the town if the situation is not taken into control. “There are reports that people of a certain sect are leaving their homes out of fear of being executed. The government should take notice of this,” he said.

Locals said that target killings and other recurring acts of violence have engulfed the people in fear, who now avoid visiting areas inhabited by people of the opposite sect.

Gilgit Deputy Commissioner Arkam Tariq said the local administration is trying to foster a peaceful atmosphere in the city. He added that more peace rallies and seminars will be organised in the coming days to spread the message of brotherhood among the people. The first of such rallies, held on Tuesday, helped neutralise the atmosphere, he added. Tariq informed that the next peace conference will be held at a local girls ‘college on Thursday.

G-B Assembly Speaker Wazir Baig urged the administration to utilize services of local poets and literati to help plug the gaps between the sects and nurture an environment of peace.

After more than 20 people were killed in Gilgit and Chilas on April 3, the G-B government, in an attempt to quell the violence, suspended cellular services and imposed curfew in the region for 25 days.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • true muslim
    May 3, 2012 - 4:47AM

    We need to look, where we failed to provide security to the people. Infact no serious efforts have been made so far to controll the terrorists and their factories located in the tribal areas, Kohistan and Diamer. There are evidences that these madaras in Pakistan were mushroomed during the 11 years of Zia’s regime which are producing no more than militants. In the long run, it is more likely that the country will be run by the mullahs who with be lashing the people to call them for prayers.


  • Muhammad Nasir
    May 3, 2012 - 12:41PM

    Government should take concrete steps for promoting harmony in the region. Peace rallies are not going to help. The real culprits involved in mass killings of people in the year 1988, 2005 and 2012 should be arrested. Government should abolish policy of equality. Terrorists and peaceful people should not be dealt on same line. Terrorists making factories located in tribal areas, Diamer and Kohistan should be eliminated as soon as possible.


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