June 2004 News

3 killed in Gilgit for violating curfew

6 June 2004
The Dawn
Our Correspondent

GILGIT: At least three people were killed and three others sustained injuries when security forces opened fire on a Swat-bound pick-up in Khomer area for violating curfew on Sunday. Talking to newsmen at the DHQ hospital in Gilgit, one of the injured, Sher Badshah, said the pick-up was going to Swat during a relaxation in curfew. However, he said, passengers did not know that the curfew had been relaxed only in a few areas and not in Khomer and when it reached there it came under fire at 1.35pm. He said troops fired at the vehicle when the driver tried to speed away. Later, an official said that a relaxation in curfew from 1.30pm to 3.30pm was allowed on Sunday in the Bazaar area in the city limits and in some sectors but not in Nagral and Khomer where the incident took place. The official said that a clear announcement about curfew relaxation had been made through loudspeakers in almost all areas. However, some people thought that the curfew had been lifted from all zones. 'This incident occurred because of utter confusion,' he said. The official said that the pick-up was being driven at full speed and the driver did not stop despite signals from the security forces. The dead and the injured were labourers and belonged to Mingora. The dead are identified as Hamidullah, Lal Badshah and Qayyum, while Fida Hussain, Ahsanullah and Sher Badshah suffered injuries. PEACE CALL The Anjuman-i-Imamia Gilgit, meanwhile, announced on Sunday that the Northern Areas administration had fulfilled its promise and appealed to its followers to refrain from violent activities. The Anjuman thanked the Force Commander of Northern Areas and the area chief secretary for taking a judicious decision to resolve the four-year dispute over syllabus. During the curfew relaxation hours on Sunday a large number of people rushed to markets to purchase foodstuff and other necessary items. The authorities had relaxed the curfew after 82 hours in some sectors in Gilgit from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. The curfew was imposed at around 4am on June 3. The city was still tense and there were reports of aerial firing from Khomer. An official said curfew would be relaxed gradually from Sunday onwards if the situation improved. Sources said that a young woman died on Sunday in the Jutial area of Gilgit as she could not be taken to hospital because of curfew. The administration said that following the resolution of the syllabus issue, protesters had ended their sit-in on the Karakoram Highway, Gilgit-Nomal Road, Gilgit-Skardu Road and Ghizer-Gilgit Road. PRESS NOTE According to a press note issued by the government on Sunday, a sad incident took place in which a double cabin pick-up tried to violate the curfew due to which law- enforcement agencies opened fire in which three people were killed while three sustained injuries, reports APP. According to hospital sources, one of the injured is in critical condition while the other two were out of danger. All of them belong to Malakand Division, NWFP. According to the press note, the overall situation of Gilgit remained calm and is heading towards normalcy. Both administrative and reconciliatory measures were proceeding side by side, the press note said. As a result of the efforts of peace-brokers (comprising notables from Shia, Sunni, Ismaili and Noorbakhshi sects), people have started realizing the need for peace and tranquillity. A group that was staging a sit-in across the Danyore Bridge has dispersed peacefully. Further efforts are afoot to arrive at a negotiated settlement of all burning issues. Unlawful and illogical demands of the protesters could not be met as these were beyond the competence of the local administration, the press note said. However, in the greater interest of peace and sectarian harmony in the area some local and interim measures are being initiated by the administration which have been appreciated by the general public. The civil administration in consultation with local notables of all sects has pronounced following interim measures to avoid further conflicts in schools. 1) In 100 per cent Shia or 100 per cent Sunni areas, nothing against the faith of the local people shall be taught. 2) In case schools having students of both the sects, teachers shall explain the viewpoint of both the sects. 3) Letter (already issued) regarding non-inclusion of controversial material in examination papers shall remain operative. This will remain operative till a final decision on the issue is taken by the quarters concerned in the federal government. The protesters and their leaders have pledged not to raise the issue till that time to help maintain peace in the city. The army authorities have been fully involved in the reconciliation dialogue and the decisions.


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