Saturday, March 17, 2012

Gilgit-Baltistan on the verge of bloodshed

ISLAMABAD: After volatile Balochistan, the situation in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has turned into a volcano that could erupt at any time, exposing hundreds of locals to violence, hatred and death, Daily Times has learnt from reliable sources.

At present a great deal of unrest that is being witnessed among the residents of GB representing various religious sects, including Deobandi, Shia, Sunni and Ismaili, could disrupt the law and order situation, triggering large-scale violence in the northern areas anytime.

Sources said a large amount illegal arms and ammunitions have been dumped in various parts of the GB by various communities under the nose of government while administration had its eyes closed over the issue.

This huge cache of illegal arms and ammunition has reached the GB - where arms and ammunitions are not manufactured unlike FATA - after crossing three-hundred kilometres, passing through various security checkposts and pickets set up by the law enforcement agencies.

Recently, during a raid a huge cache of illegal arms and ammunitions was recovered from the Yadgar Mohala area, however, reportedly in the areas of Kashrot, Baseen, Nopurah, Sakarkoi and Nagar still hold a large quantity of illegal weapons.

The target killings and miserable law and order situation in Gilgit-Baltistan has become a routine matter and is worsening for the past few years due to increasing sectarian violence. The cash and literature, coming from Pakistan, Iran and some European countries where people representing Shia and Ismaili sects are residing, is adding fuel to the issue.

Most of the time the major cities of the GB, especially, Gilgit face imposition of curfew by the security forces to maintain the law and order situation, whereas media is also unable to report independently on the issue.

The media reports also highlight that a large number of locals from various areas of GB are being trained for militant activities in the training camps at Diamer and Mansehra in case of any violence.

It is pertinent to mention here that local government of Gilgit-Baltistan, which is termed a puppet government by the locals, has failed to introduce solid measures restricting any expected violence and to defuse the growing uncertainty, sectarianism and hatred among locals.

Situation had turned so hostile for the government functionaries and the security forces in the area on March 8, that Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mehdi Shah issued a notification for cancellation of all the arms licences and to monitor the activities of all banned organisations, including Tehreek-e-Talban and Wahdatul Mulismeen in the GB.

He also formulated a committee led by Provincial Minister Wazir Shakeel to work out a plan to sustain the peace in GB and to avoid terrorism.

Another aspect of the growing uncertainty is attempts to introduce forced demographical topology of the region by the government and the establishment.

The forced change in the demography of the region is reportedly being planned by the government,which envisage merging Chitral and Kohistan into GB from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, however the forced changes always result into continued violence and bloodshed, as it was the case in the Kurram Agency where FC Kurram-Area of Orakzai Agency - was made part of it, still it has become difficult to maintain peace from years.

The need of hour is to put emphasis in GB to avoid the burst of violence in the area and to defuse the situation prior it’s too late.
By Manzoor Qadir, Daily Times

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