June 2004 News

Curfew imposed as one killed, several hurt in Gilgit riots

3 June 2004
The Daily Times
Ibrahim Shahid

Gilgit: One person was killed and several were injured when Shia protestors clashed with security forces in Gilgit city on Thursday during a curfew that was imposed in the city's municipal limits at around 500am, sources said.They said the protestor was killed near Khomer Chowk. Sources also said the army was called out in Gilgit to maintain law and order after Shia leader Agha Ziauddin Rizvi set Thursday as the deadline for the administration to resolve the issue regarding the existing school syllabi that Shia leaders had said was against their faith.Sources said clashes and arson were widely reported from all over the district and a Pakistan Radio van and transmitter, Danyore Police Station, Police Training Centre, the Gilgit deputy commissioner's office, a rest house and the Northern Areas legislative council hall were badly damaged by angry mobs.Mobs also damaged a PTDC motel in Hunza and set fire to the Hunza assistant commissioner's office and Aliabad Police Station, sources said, adding that thousands of Shia protestors from Nomal, Danyore, Jalalabad, Matumdas, Jutal, Jaglote, Guru, Bagrote, Nagar and Hunza tried to enter Gilgit city, but law enforcement personnel stopped them at several entrances to the city.The protestors later blocked the Karakoram Highway, sources added.They said eight senior Shia leaders including Mr Rizvi (who has been heading the anti-syllabus campaign for four years) had been taken into custody, which aggravated the already tense situation in Gilgit.Loudspeakers of Shia mosques instructed the Shia protestors in Gilgit to assemble in their mosques and imambargahs and wait for the central leadership's directions, sources added. Gunfire was also head in Gilgit city, sources said, adding that a majority of the reporters in Gilgit were not issued curfew passes in time to report the situation and officials were not attending their telephones.They also said at least two policemen and several army personnel were injured during the clashes.


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