GILGIT (ET): Lawmakers say the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government needs to tame troublemakers before they set off another bloody spate of sectarian violence akin to the one witnessed across the region last year.
Over 70 people lost their lives in sectarian clashes across G-B in 2012, particularly paralysing life in Gilgit, the capital city.
“The government must take measures to nip the evil in the bud,” a member of the G-B Council, Attaullah Shahab said on Tuesday while referring to latest incidents which claimed the lives of a policeman and a civilian in Gilgit.
Police constables Sher Bahadur and Muhammad Bilal were ambushed in Sakwar on August 24 as they were heading to a police training institute. Bahadur died in the hospital while Bilal was critically injured. Half an hour later, a civilian was shot and injured in the same area, as a result of which he later died. Senior police official Ali Zia said both incidents appeared to be incidents of sectarian killing.
Although Gilgit has remained peaceful this year due to the collaborative efforts of the masjid board, peace committees, politicians and law enforcement agencies, the most recent incidents have one again triggered panic.
“If terrorists are not punished, violence would spread to other parts of the region,” Shahab told The Express Tribune, adding attacks on security forces might be a plot to demoralize them and then launch into sectarian violence.
Shahab, who served as adviser to prime minister on G-B in the previous government, urged the incumbent government to investigate the attack on policemen in Gilgit as rigorously as they did the killing of security forces investigating the Nanga Parbat incident in Chilas.
Regional Minister for Works Bashir Ahmed urged residents to dissociate from those fueling sectarian conflict and aim for revival of love and peace between the followers of all sects.