GILGIT: Students block Karakoram highway
26 September 2003
GILGIT: Hundreds of students and teachers belonging to different Madaris in Diamer district blocked the Karakoram Highway on Thursday at Thour Nalah against the construction of Diamer (Bhasha) dam , NGOs and proposed plan for change in the existing curriculum, police sources said on Friday. They said that over 500 students belonging to Sunni Madaris took out a rally in Thour Nallah, 200kms south of Gilgit, and blocked the Karakoram Highway for half an hour. The sources said the protesters were demanding to roll back the projects of International Fund for Agriculture Developlment (IFAD) and UNDP in Diamer which they termed haram (prohibited) to utilize their funds according to their school of thought. They also chanted slogans against the construction of Bhasha dam as the chairman of Water and Power Development Authority Lt Gen Zulfiqar Ali Khan (Rtd) arrived at the scene. The protesters contended that a large chunk of Diamer district would be inundated with the construction of Bhasha dam due to its upstream and its royalty would go to the people of NWFP. The protesters also opposed any proposed changes in the existing education syllabi and chanted slogans in favour of the prevailing syllabi, the sources said. The protesters also passed a resolution for pressing their demands. TEACHERS DEMAND The Northern Areas Colleges Academic Staff Association (NACASA) has demanded the removal of the Karakurram International University (KIU) Vice-Chancellor, Dr Mohammad Azam. Speaking at a 'meet the press' programme organized by the Gilgit Union of Journalists on Friday the NACASA representatives said that the VC had been removed from the vice-chancellorship of Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, on corruption charges and moral turpitude. But was appointed as the KIU vice- chancellor. They alleged that during his 17-month stint at KIU, Dr Khan hardly spent two months in Gilgit while the rest of the period he spent at his residence in Rawalpindi which was declared as KIU 'camp office'.