Protesters end sit-in after 27 hours
10 February 2006
Gilgit: Protesters belonging to the Shia community on Friday called off their 27-hour long agitation in various parts of the Northern Areas. The campaign had paralysed life in Gilgit. The protest began on Thursday on the eve of Ashura procession took a sectarian turn after thousands of mourners from Hunza, Nagar, Haramoush, Nomal and Bargu gathered in Gilgit. They called for the release of detained Shia leaders detained on Oct 14, 2005 following a shootout. The detained leaders included Agha Rahat Al-Hussaini, Deedar Ali, Shaikh Mirza and Shaikh Nayyar Abbas. It was reported that demonstrators demanding the leaders’ release blocked the Ghizer-Gilgit road in Bargu, some 20kms West of Gilgit. Simultaneously, the Gilgit-Skardu road was also blocked near Sassi (Haramoush) about 65kms East of here. The Karakoram Highway remained blocked for two days at Durkhand, Murtazabad (Hunza), Ghulmet and Harespo (Nagar), the reports said. Earlier, protesters in Gilgit surrounded the Northern Areas Civil Secretariat for the past two days and they refused to call off agitation unless the leaders, kept in Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi, were freed. The sources said that after many rounds of negotiations, the Northern Areas’ administration persuaded the agitators to call off their agitation on the assurances that they would soon be freed. Meanwhile, the law-enforcement agencies tightened security along all routes leading to the Gilgit City. Thousands of women also took out processions on the Karakoram Highway and other roads but security agencies did not allow them to enter the city.