GB unrest: section 144 imposed, army deployed to maintain peace

GB unrest

CHILAS:  The Gilgit-Baltistan government, in response to escalating tensions, has imposed Section 144 within the city and has called upon the army to ensure peace and uphold law and order in the region. This development was disclosed on Saturday.

The decision was reached during a meeting of the Parliamentary Peace Committee, presided over by the Chief Minister, responsible for addressing law and order issues. In conjunction with this decision, the regional government has also instituted a ban on the display of arms and aerial firing.

Moreover, the government has imposed restrictions on religious gatherings and any attempts to obstruct highways as a form of protest, effective indefinitely.

Considering the existing law and order situation in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, authorities have further decided to deploy personnel from Rangers, GB Scouts, and Frontier Corps in major urban centers throughout the area.

In response to the unrest, 4G broadband services in the area have been temporarily suspended, with 2G services remaining operational. Sources indicate that this suspension follows recommendations from the provincial administration and directives from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Additionally, a list of individuals engaged in disseminating hate speech and fomenting lawlessness has been compiled, according to sources.

The decision to deploy personnel from Rangers, GB Scouts, and Frontier Corps in major cities comes in the wake of recent turmoil and disturbances triggered by protests in Diamer’s Chilas. Demonstrators blocked the Karakoram Highway and Babusar Pass road for three days, demanding the apprehension of a religious leader from Skardu for alleged controversial remarks.

Protest rallies also occurred in Astore and Gilgit, but were terminated following the registration of a First Information Report against religious leader Agha Baqir Al-Hussaini.

In reaction to these events, a market and transport strike occurred in Skardu, with protesters obstructing major roads, including the Juglot-Skardu road. Consequently, the GB government resolved to deploy the Karakoram Task Force and police personnel on the Karakoram Highway, Juglot-Skardu Road, and Babusar Top to ensure passenger safety and the smooth flow of vehicular traffic.

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According to a press release issued by the GB Information Department, the meeting’s participants agreed that legal action would be taken against anyone publicly insulting the beliefs and revered figures of any religion.

The press release stated, “In light of the overall regional situation and for the purpose of maintaining peace, it has been decided in the meeting to call upon the army. Additionally, Rangers, GB Scouts, and FC personnel will be stationed in major cities. The government is committed to maintaining law and order and sustaining tourism activities under all circumstances. Therefore, the Gilgit-Baltistan Home Department has promptly imposed Section 144 to prevent unlawful gatherings and road blockades, and strict measures will be taken against violators.”

The government has also urged citizens to cooperate with the administration by promoting unity and harmony.

The press release expressed the belief that the people would reject troublemakers attempting to disrupt brotherhood and peace in the region. It emphasized that law enforcement agencies were prepared to respond firmly to such elements and were closely monitoring those propagating hatred through social media and other channels.

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