GILGIT: Gilgit was still reeling from the devastation caused by the floods when it was engulfed by sectarianism, which has diverted attention away from relief and rehabilitation needs.
Police, rangers and even the army was, at times, pulled back from flood-stricken areas and re-deployed to Gilgit to quell the violence that had left four people dead in 24 hours during mid-August. The government, headed by the chief minister, focused on violence in an attempt to ‘nip the evil in the bud’, instead of highlighting the severity of flood destruction. The floods and landslides have killed nearly 200 people in Gilgit-Baltistan. But the media has concentrated on violence rather than the miseries of the people on the verge of starvation. Already paralysed due to lack of fuel and food, the threat of ambush from rival sects has further curtailed people’s movements.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2010.