–Troops take control of exit, entry points in hilly areas of Ghizer district
–Law-enforcement agencies, govt failed to provide security to people in GB: APC
ISLAMABAD: After several attacks on girls’ schools and targeting of a police station in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), the security forces have taken positions in the hilly areas, especially the entry and exit points of Ghizer district which is feared as the next target of terrorists who fled adjoining Diamer district.
As the two districts, Diamer and Ghizer, are adjacently linked by around 13 Nallahs (ravines), the arrival of miscreants was expected to Ghizer through the hilly routes. The residents of the district were alerted by the intelligence agencies asking them to be vigilant about the arrival of unknown people and outsiders, an official told Pakistan Today.
According to sources at Gakoch, the headquarter of the district, apart from the movement of police and other law enforcement agencies, locals have also set up voluntary monitoring committees to monitor the movement on the land routes in hilly areas where only CNIC holders of the area were allowed to travel.
The development has created fear and panic among the residents of the district. “However, we have taken a sigh of relief when Pakistan Army deployed troops on every exit and entry points in hilly areas on Monday,” said locals in Ghizer.
The troops were deployed in Nallahs including Dilnati, Singaal, Gulmati, Rwish, Pathrait, Hindrub and others to counter the terrorists who after attacking girls’ schools have reportedly been in the hilly areas. Last week, they had attacked a police station at Kargah Nallah in Gilgit killing two policemen.
On the other hand, the two tehsils of Diamer district, Darel and Tangir, where the terrorists torched over a dozen schools, are still reportedly not in control of security forces. According to an official at Chilas, the local Jirga has taken responsibility for dealing with the miscreants. The local elders have pledged to hand over the miscreants to security forces. However, no one involved in the attacks on school has been handed over to the police so far. According to an insider, the local Jirga is in talks with relatives of those involved in the attacks on school. The relatives are being pressurized to hand over the culprits to police.
APC SUGGESTS NEW SET-UP:
Meanwhile, an All Parties Conference (APC) called-in by the Lawyers Action Committee in Gilgit has demanded that the GB should be given a new political set-up in lights of the lawyers’ formula besides giving it provincial status by making amendments to Pakistan’s Constitution.
The APC also condemned the recent terror attacks on schools and police personnel and said that the government and law-enforcement agencies have become failed in defeating terrorists, paying tributes to personnel martyred by the terrorists. It demanded that emergent measures should be taken jointly by the government and security agencies for providing foolproof security to the people.
Speaking on this occasion, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) regional President Amjad Hussain advocate said that after the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which had been merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, now it has been the GB where no government’s writ was imposed. He said that there was a huge vacuum between the people and government from which terrorists were benefiting.
He said that involvement of foreign hands in the recent terrorist attacks should not be ruled out, as Pakistan’s arch-rival India has already announced that that it would go to the extreme to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He accused Indian government, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of using different tactics to foment terrorism and unrest in Pakistan, including GB which is the gateway of the CPEC.
Amjad Hussain said that PPP has a well-defined stance on the constitutional status of GB, which had been part of its manifesto. He demanded that with its disputed status, GB should be given constitutional protection and it should be included in the country’s constitution, vowing that PPP would not compromise on GB’s legal rights at any costs.
Meanwhile, GB Bar Council Chairman Javaid demanded that the lawyers’ formula should be implemented by the federal government. He said that they have devised the formula after much consideration and consultations with all stakeholders, adding legal protection should be provided to the people, their lives and property by making the region as part of the country’s constitution.
Furthermore, Opposition of Legislative Assembly retired Captain Muhammad Shafi said that the recent terror attacks have exposed the failure of the government and security agencies. He said that the government should either ensure safety of people’s lives or it should pack.
He said that their foremost demand was that the GB should be made a full constitutional province of the country, but they have temporarily stepped-back in the wake of the prevailing situation so that a national narrative could be constructed. He expressed that if GB could not be made constitutional province, it should be given Azad Kashmir-like political setup by the federal government.