Protest held against Gilgit killings

22 April 2009
The Dawn

Islamabad: Students and youth from Gilgit-Baltistan here on Wednesday held a protest demonstration against the killing of Northern Areas Legislative Assembly deputy speaker Syed Asad Zaidi. The protest demonstration was organised by Gilgit-Baltistan Students Alliance and other student and political parties besides residents of the region outside the National Press Club. Mr Zaidi along with another person was gunned down in Kashrot area of Gilgit city on Monday. The protesters demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident, accusing the police and security personnel of turning a blind eye to terrorist activities in the region. Speakers at the protest rally criticised the law enforcement agencies for failing to control targeted killings in the region. They demanded that the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary be replaced with the establishment of a civil force. Meanwhile, member of the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly Fozia Saleem Abbas told a press conference at the National Press Club that terrorist and sectarian incidents were on the rise in Northern Areas. She demanded that the government should stop Talibanisation in the peaceful region. She also urged the chief justice of Pakistan to take Suo motu notice of the growing incident of terrorism in Gilgit-Baltistan and an inquiry be conducted into the current killings along with the 2005 incidents of terrorism. 'The real culprits of terrorism must be brought to books by the judiciary,' she added. She said all government departments and educational institutes in Northern Areas remained closed against the killing of the deputy speaker but the minister for Kashmir affairs and Northern Areas remained silent after the incident.