Staying prudent: Gilgit Ramazan Bazaar closes in light of security concerns

Militants reportedly planned to carry out terrorist activities in the region.

Shabbir Mir August 02, 2013
The market was a popular spot for residents until it was declared sensitive by law enforcement agencies. PHOTO: EXPRESS


The Ramazan Bazaar, set up to facilitate the public during the holy month, was closed on Friday after security agencies warned the government of possible terrorist activity in the market.

Set up at the beginning of Ramazan in Garhi Bagh, the bazaar had a variety of commodities including fresh vegetables, fruit, and pulses available at cheap prices.

“The decision has been taken in light of reports by security agencies, even though people were happy with the arrangement,” said Chiraguddin, a district administration official. “As a precautionary measure, we have closed the bazaar in the best interest of the people.”

Due to goods of superior quality available at competitive prices, the market was flooded with buyers, a majority of whom would come from adjacent areas. Following the bazaar’s success, people from the suburbs of Gilgit also demanded a market of a similar nature be established in their areas.

However, the government decided against it as local security agencies as well as reports from the interior ministry suggested militants were planning to target Gilgit–Baltistan (G-B).

Last week, Gilgit police arrested a suspected terrorist equipped with a hand grenade, just before he was about to attack a mosque. The militant later confessed he was intending to spill blood and cause sectarian strife.

SSP Ali Zia said law enforcement agencies had launched a manhunt to arrest suspects believed to have entered G-B after being trained in Miranshah to carry out terrorist attacks. Zia said security agencies had arrested at least five outlaws in the past who were planning to attack police officials.

Following the reports on terrorism, security has been intensified in the region.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2013.


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