Target killings in Gilgit-Baltistan

By Dr. Zaeem Zia

Pakistan in my opinion is a bundle of strange contradictions. We always beat the drums and propagate tyranny of Indian and Israeli forces for what is happening in Kashmir and Palestine and yet are criminally negligent of things which are happening on our own soil.

Gilgit-Baltistan is my home town and  is strategically located in an important region and lies right in the middle of four nuclear powers, India, China, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. There used to be a time when it was a tourist heaven but now it has turned into a hell on earth. Peace and fraternity was our identity, but random killings are a routine
tradition in Gilgit now. Our ancestors were once famous for brotherhood, and now the progeny has turned into worst enemies based on sectarian issues.

The question arises, as who is responsible for all the bloodshed in Gilgit-Baltistan? What makes people of Gilgit-Baltistan to grab weapons against each other? And what is so difficult for the security agencies to get hold of miscreant trouble shooters?

Gilgit-Baltistan has 6000 police force, elite force, quick response force (QRF),   Rangers, a whole Military division comprising of three brigades. Apart from these, ISI, MI, and other intelligence have their best networks in the region compared to other parts of the country. Almost 22 intelligence and law enforcement agencies work in this area and yet fail to control the situation and to track the miscreants even in the Gilgit City alone.

The major troublesome area is Gilgit City, which is no more than 5 kilometers in  length and barely three kilometers in width. The total population in this small city is scarcely 150,000. Technically, it should be easy to handle the miscreants with iron hands, but practically it is not happening. The question rises, whose fault is it?

Some  quarters have publically announced on record and threatened that unless the present PPP Government is forced to leave and the present Chief Minister  and the Governor  are removed, peace cannot prevail in the whole region.

Consequently the region is under constant terror and people are being assassinated on the streets and at times right next to the security bunkers. For example  Syed Zia Ud Din Rizvi (most influential religious scholar), Dr. Sher Wali (a professional doctor) , Saif Ur Rehman Khan (a political leader), Asad Zaidi, (Deputy Speaker of GB Assembly), and Ramzan Danish (a renowned businessman, and a political leader ) have been assassinated. Once again a simple question can be asked: Why can’t it be controlled by our security agencies?

Streets are haunted from the fear of assassination; economy is almost zero; tourism, due to the violence, is record low, educational institutions barely work, offices are shut and hospitals, post offices and other departments are divided on sectarian basis and to top it off there are no go areas.

There is such uncertainty that anyone can get assassinated anytime, anywhere- There have been more than 600 killings over 5 years. Who will be responsible for their children? They are now orphans for the rest of their lives? Who will compensate for their miseries in the rest of their lives? Almost every other home bears a widow, helpless and without support and lack of justice? The favorite prey of the terrorists are either the most learned, influential or prominent political figures.

It is the need of the time to focus on the strategies to tackle the highly volatile situation in Gilgit- or else the situation will get worse  and uncontrollable. Writ of law should prevail, more rigorous legislation on security issues should be done, and instead of making “aman Jirgas” the miscreants should be dealt with an iron hand and made an example in front of others. Rather than raising fingers at our nascent legislative structure, we should help them flourish.  And I urge youngsters to take part in the peace process and intra-faith harmony.

Gilgit-Baltistan Zindabad, Pakistan Payindabad


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