GILGIT (ET): The protest is continuing over a piece of land on both sides of the Basari check post, which separates Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). The status of the 10-kilometre stretch is not clear, often leading to unrest between residents of Diamer Valley and Kohistan, as it involves compensation and royalty in the long run.
The issue flared up again on Monday when residents of Kohistan gathered near Shatyal, threatening to dismantle the check post by force. Kohistan’s representative body, the Kohistan Jirga, had reportedly refused to be part of talks with the K-P and G-B governments if the check post remains intact.
Subsequently, residents of Kohistan blocked the KKH, disrupting traffic between G-B and Rawalpindi.
In reaction to this, over 300 people from Chilas town marched to Basari check post to reportedly ‘defend the place’. The protesters also condemned the ‘encroachment’ from Kohistan. An official delegation from G-B has reached Chilas to hold dialogue with officials from Kohistan in order to defuse the tension.
“We are hopeful about a positive settlement,” said Gilgit DIG Ali Sher, who is a part of the delegation. “At the moment we are holding talks with the protesters in Chilas as well to get the KKH cleared for traffic as soon as possible,” the DIG added. G-B Home Secretary Attaur Rahman is also a part of the delegation.
The issue over the boundary has been repeatedly debated in both G-B and K-P assemblies in the past. Both sides have accused each other of encroaching upon their land.
Police and Frontier Corps officials remained deployed, however, the protesters could not be convinced to end the blockade.
The land dispute started between Kohistani people and the residents of Thordas village of G-B when the government announced Bhasha Dam project. The area of Basri Nala, according to Kohistanis, would be inundated by the dam and compensation was their right.