Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Relations disclosed on Tuesday that the assassins who killed 11 foreign tourists in Nanga Parbat in June wanted to kidnap them for ransom.
Putting forward an investigation report on the incident, Home Secretary Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Dr Attaur Rehman said that the militants had not planned to kill the tourists but, instead, wanted to kidnap the group to demand ransom. However, one of the militants fire at them, killing ten of them and their cook.
He stated that four out of eleven miscreants who massacred the foreign tourists had been arrested. Six others were nabbed in connection with the killing of Senior Superintendent Police, Diamer, one army colonel and one army major who were investigating the shooting of the tourists.
He informed the committee that the arrested persons were being tried under the Anti-Terrorist Act and a complete challan will be submitted within days.
The home secretary further revealed that the incident was not sectarian in nature and aimed exclusively at terrorising. “Most of the culprits of these gruesome incidents have direct or indirect links with the militants in the tribal areas and some of them even have been part of militant activities in Afghanistan,” he said.
Rehman also informed the committee that a significant number of youngsters from G-B were now moving toward the tribal areas. He dubbed their move as ‘suspicious’ and added that G-B administration had prepared a list of such youth and was keeping a watchful eye at them.
“We have warned them and their parents a number of times about the suspicious activities,” said the home secretary. “Action against them will be taken once concrete evidence is available,” he added.
The committee praised security agencies for their role in apprehending all the perpetrators and executors of the vicious plan. The G-B administration was asked to update the committee on the trial on monthly basis.
Furthermore, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhry Barjis Tahir assured that the government was making all efforts to ensure security to tourists visiting G-B.
He said that a summary for instituting a 2,000-strong special force to patrol the Karakoram Highway (KKH) had been prepared and would be tabled before the federal cabinet for approval.
He further said that to promote tourism, the government had taken a number of steps and organised the Silk Route Festival recently. Diplomats from as many as 22 countries were brought to GB. They showed interest in investment in the region.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2013.