Forces to remain in Gilgit till end of Muharram
13 February 2005
Gilgit: Army and paramilitary forces will stay in the city and its suburs till the end of Muharram, Northern Areas police chief said. The security forces were deployed in the capital city of Northern Areas on January 8 to quell violence and mainatian order. Speaking at a press conference here on Sunday, IGP Sakhiullah Tareen said police personnel have been deployed at 836 imambargahs in northern areas for Muharram and 1,184 are active in major towns to keep order apart from other security forces. He said the police department is beset with an acute shortage of personnel and that is why they faced problems in reaching the trouble spots. He said a 'quick response force', headed by IG police was being formed to ensure brisk movement of police in the trouble areas. 'Full protection is being extended to the Chinese engineers working at three projects in Gilgit.' About 250 guards are in active service in these projects beside guarding 118 vital installations in the region, he said. Replying to a question about the arrest of suspects involved in the murder of Agha Ziauddin Rizvi on Jan 8, the IGP said they had started combing some areas in Peshawar and Hazara and still many suspects are at large. 'We have sent police teams to arrest them and the NWFP police would collaborate with the teams', he said. Mr Tareen however, said, they had not yet recorded the statement of one of the suspects, Atique, because he is still in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. ASTORE The Astore avalanche death toll has risen to eight, sources told Dawn. Rescue workers found two more bodies on Sunday buried under the ice debris, police sources said. They said the victims were identified as Sabeel, son of Muhammad and his sister Chaand Begum. They said both the victims were found buried under their house and added that all the victims of the avalanche that hit Churrit village in Astore district on Friday killing 6 villagers on the spot, were buried in the village. Northern Areas Legislative Council members Dr Muzaffar Rallay and Abdul Hameed from Astore district have demanded of the government to pay compensation to the victims like other victims elsewhere in the country. The heavy snowfall coupled with torrential rains in the region has also blocked the Karakoram Highway for the last one week at different spots which had created shortage of food and fuel in the region and hundreds of passengers are stranded in Gilgit and Rawalpindi as the region has lost aerial and road link over the last one week. The PIA also suspended its flights to the region due to bad weather and local banks are running out of cash as they transport currency by air only.