Protests In Gilgit And Diamer Against Killings

Protests In Gilgit And Diamer Against Killings

19 February 2010
The Dawn
Farooq Ahmed

Gilgit: Protests were held in Gilgit and Diamer on Friday against the killing of two protesters in Chilas allegedly by law-enforcement personnel. Life came to a standstill in Chilas, the headquarters of Diamer district, as markets, shops, restaurants and offices were closed as part of a three-day mourning announced by local leaders. The two people were killed and four others injured on Thursday in firing allegedly by Frontier Constabulary personnel during protests against Diamer-Bhasha damís construction. The protesters were seeking acceptance of their demands before beginning of work on the dam. Troops were deployed in the town on Friday. Protesters blocked the Karakoram Highway by placing huge boulders. Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah suspended the deputy commissioner, superintendent of police, assistant commissioner and tehsildar of Diamer and ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident. Protest marches held after Friday prayers in Gilgit converged into a public meeting in the City Park. Members of Legislative Assembly and other leaders addressed the protesters and criticised the administration. They urged the government to take the officials responsible to task. Lawyers also held a rally, burned tyres and blocked a road. The regionís home secretary visited the bereaved families and assured them that the officials responsible would be punished. He also met the Diamer-Bhasha Dam Committee and promised that its demands would be met. Later in day, Deputy Home Secretary Sibtain Ahmed was posted as Diamer Deputy Commissioner and Hajat Mir as Chilas SP. Officials of the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) left the town and their offices were closed. PML-Q parliamentary leaders in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Bashir Ahmed, former MLA Haider Khan and District Council Chairman Saeed Afzal blamed the Wapda management for the incident.


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