Gilgit-Baltistan students demand protection

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LAHORE:04 March: Students from Gilgit-Baltistan have condemned the ongoing killings of innocent people, and demanded protection from the government.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, the students said they wanted a high-level probe into the Kohistan massacre, saying that the people of the region had never indulged in such sectarian attacks.
“It is a conspiracy hatched against the people of Kohistan,” remarked one of the speakers.
Chaudhry Aashaan Ahmed, Rabnawaz Malik and Amir Azeem Qureshi were prominent among the speakers.
They alleged the security situation in the area had turned the worst during Chief Minister Mehdi Shah’s tenure. They said that around 650 people had been killed since January 8, 2005, of which 450 were killed during CM Mehdi’s government.
They alleged that the CM was supporting a specific sect, adding that the killings of the people belonging to Sunni sect were much more than the killings of Shias.
They said the security budget of Gilgit-Baltistan was Rs 800 million, which was being spent on the security of VVIPs and VIPs.
They also held Mehdi Shah responsible for the deteriorating security situation in the area, and demanded his resignation.
They urged the government to deploy Rangers in Gilgit, saying that the police had failed to protect citizens.
They also criticised the police for not handling the situation properly.
The students demanded compensation for the families of the Kohistan victims.
They said it was shameful that people from a specific sect were being targeted since long across the country, while the government and establishment acted as silent spectators.
They maintained that those who had been killing innocent people in the name of Islam respected neither women, nor children, while the state had been keeping its eyes closed to the barbarianism.
The speakers urged the government to take decisive measures to end sectarian violence across the country and protect religious minorities.
They said such target killings displayed the appalling degree of religious hatred in the country and urged the government to step up security in the face of the “clear and present threat faced by certain religious groups”.Daily Times.