Foreigners being evacuated from Hunza
4 June 2004
The News International
Gilgit: The Northern Areas administration has taken special measures to evacuate several foreigners stranded in Hunza valley due to round the clock curfew in Gilgit city, police said. IGP NAs Sakhiullah Tareen told reporters on Friday that about 67 foreigners, four of them German diplomats, remained stranded in Hunza valley because of round the clock curfew in Gilgit. He said the administration made all out efforts for their security in the region besides making special flight arrangements to send them to Islamabad on Saturday. Meanwhile, despite curfew on the second consecutive day in Gilgit clashes between law enforcing agencies and some mobs were reported from different areas. One person was reported to have been injured in the gunfire. The police official, however, said the administration plans to relax curfew today (Saturday) if the situation remains under control. He said the angry mob besides damaging a Police Recruitment Centre had also looted Rs .3 million. He said two bridges, one each in Skardu and Gilgit, were also damaged by the miscreants. He said about 10,000 protesters had gathered in different parts of Northern Areas, mostly in Skardu, demanding release of Shiite leaders and change in the syllabi. He said about 30 people have been arrested so far in raids in different areas and more raids would conducted against other persons. Sakhiullah Tareen said more troops would be called from Islamabad and deployed in the outskirts of Gilgit if calm was not restored soon. APP adds: District Magistrate Gilgit has issued the following press note on the situation in the city on Friday: 'Curfew that was clamped yesterday in the Municipal limits of Gilgit continued today. Groups of youngsters, emerging out of the nearby narrow streets, again tried to further damage the VIP Rest House, Chinnar Bagh this morning. The law enforcing agencies arrested thirty-three trouble makers who were mostly youngsters. In an incident of cross firing at Danyore bridge between the protesters and law enforcing agencies one person received injuries and was brought to DHQ hospital for treatment. The number of protesters gathered across the Danyore bridge since last evening is decreasing gradually as they are going back to their respective nearby villages. Efforts are afoot to disperse them peacefully and side-by-side negotiations with the community elders are also going on. The KKH at Sakwar blocked yesterday has been cleared and the highway is now open for vehicular traffic between Islamabad and Gilgit. Operation clean up jointly by the Army and Police is going on at Khomar, Nagral and Domial of Gilgit town. The administration is taking all possible measures to bring the life of the city to normal and save the lives and properties of the general public.' AFP adds: 'A man named Bilal Hussain was brought to hospital with bullet in his thigh,' a doctor at the government hospital told this agency. 'Fresh reinforcements of army troops and paramilitary force have arrived in a special aircraft,' Northern Areas police chief Sakhiullah Tareen told reporters. More than 60 foreign tourists were stranded in Gilgit because of the curfew. 'We are making arrangements for them, either a plane or a bus will be provided to them,' he said.