In a bid to eradicate sectarianism, the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government is set to launch an effective targeted operation to deweaponise Gilgit city.
G-B’s capital city is in the grip of sectarian clashes for over two decades, as a result of which many precious lives have been lost and the peace of the area has been disrupted.
Amid the deteriorating law and order situation, the government has decided to launch a targeted operation to collect illegal weapons from key locations of the capital, The Express Tribune has learnt.
“At this stage, military operation is not the solution to the problems, but we have decided to launch an effective targeted operation in certain localities, as per authentic intelligence reports,” a senior police officer in GB told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity.
The political leadership favoured the idea of a targeted operation and directed the civil administration and local military leadership to press ahead with the plan, it is learnt.
In recent meetings held in GB’s Force Commander Office, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister G-B Syed Mehdi Shah, it was decided that the issue must be dealt with immediately to establish order.
According to a police officer, intelligence reports reveal that huge catches of sophisticated weapons have been smuggled to Gilgit, through different entry points of the area, particularly during summers when borders remain opened.
The officer added that the administration is refraining from carrying out a military offensive in the area to avoid unnecessary botheration to the citizens. However, he said that they “know where the ammunitions are, and how to reach them.”
“Previously, there was [just] sectarianism and target killings. Now the menace is transforming into large scale terrorism, and timely action is crucial to nip the evil in the bud,” the officer said.
A fresh wave of sectarianism started at the beginning of the year, when unidentified assailants targeted a passenger van at the Dassu area of Kohistan, followed by the killing of passengers at Chilas and a similar incident at Lulusar Top.
Commenting on the situation, Speaker G-B Legislative Assembly Wazir Baig, who is active in efforts to bring peace in GB, stated that the government is taking measures to bring normalcy in the area and are involving religious scholars and the wider community.
“We have established Masjid Boards and now efforts are underway to establish Ulema Boards by engaging religious scholars from across the sectarian groups,” Baig said.
The government is also concentrating on the strengthening of law enforcement agencies by increasing their numbers and effectively equipping them.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2012.