GILGIT: Security forces have started deweaponising the town of Gilgit; about ten people have been rounded up in a door-to-door search operation launched on Thursday, according to the police.
This was done to end the sectarian violence; which has claimed four lives in a week. It was decided after Chief Minister Mehdi Shah met with Interior Minister Rehman Malik to discuss the issue in Islamabad, said official sources.
“Several houses have been searched for weapons and it will continue tomorrow as well,” said an official. In the wake of recent tensions, law enforcement agencies stepped up patrolling on roads and body searches of passengers at check points were intensified.
Rangers and NA scouts have been assigned the task of maintaining law and order in the town, said the DIG Police, Farman while talking to The Express Tribune.
The force commander inspected the houses burnt by unidentified men late on Wednesday and met with the victims, accompanied by chief secretary Babar Yaqoob, according to witnesses.
Earlier, firing erupted in the Yadgar area and spread throughout the city within no time. It was about 11 pm when the firing stopped; but not before terrorising the entire city which had already been reeling due to being devastated by floods.
Forces had sealed all roads leading to the city allowing no one to enter or leave, however the decision was later withdrawn. Markets remained closed and attendance in offices and schools remained extremely low.
However it could not be ascertained as to how many weapons were recovered in the operation, from residents who, more often than not indulge in ‘shows of power’ by resorting to aerial firing.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2010.