GILGIT: Much like the rest of the country, residents of Gilgit-Balitistan (G-B) kept a close eye on the ongoing political crisis and subsequent violence in Islamabad.
“This is a very sad event. I wish it never happened,” Afaq Ahmed, a university student said on Sunday. “I think it has damaged the democratic process and the image of the country.”
Although G-B is over 600 kilometres away from the federal capital, the violence dominated the thoughts and conversations of locals, who discussed it in homes, markets and restaurants.
“People come in for a cup of tea and the only topic discussed is PTI and PAT. This is unprecedented,” said Jamshed Khan, a hotel manager. He said people were gravely concerned over a situation that was clearly worsening.
It was the 17th day of both parties’ siege of Islamabad’s Red Zone and some in G-B believed the government was be blamed for these clashes.
“I hold the government responsible for it,” said Masroor, a local. “The rioters should have been dealt with an iron fist from the onset.”
With PTI and PAT lacking support in G-B, most residents have little sympathy for their leaders or supporters.
Meanwhile, demonstrations organised by Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen were held in some parts of G-B to express solidarity with victims of the violence in the capital.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2014.