Residents of Gilgit are gripped in fear and forced to remain indoors following the carnage of 19 Shia passengers in Naran valley of Mansehra district. The ruthless killing overshadowed Eid preparation in the town that is still in a state of shock.
“I am in the market out of sheer compulsion as I have to do necessary shopping for Eid,” Sajid Iqbal, a resident of Jutial, told The Express Tribune.
Roads and markets in Gilgit were deserted in fear of violence since Friday, a day after the passengers were hauled off from four buses heading from Rawalpindi to Gilgit by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists and shot dead. The incident, which is the third in the last six months, is said to have broken the fragile peace in the region.
Most of the vendors and shopkeepers hailing from other parts of the country left Gilgit to celebrate Eid with their families and also to avoid any backlash in the town. Two truck drivers were killed on Saturday in Chalt valley of Nagar in retaliation to the massacre.
A number of residents complained that they could not even collect their Eid clothes from tailors as they had fled to their hometowns fearing a backlash in Gilgit.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2012.