Aug 31, 2011

Gilgit Baltistan: Tensions Rise Against Chief Minister as Enforced Disappearances Increase

Ministers, youth and members of the Hunza Peace Committee show solidarity in condemning disappearances.

Below is an article published in Expert Click:

Ten more people were taken into custody at midnight from Hunza. The authorities stated that the arrests will continue until the 'real culprits' are not found. Locals have blamed the security forces for arresting those political activists who were not even present in Hunza on the day of the riots. Now the authorities are framing charges against the local youth of desecration to the Pakistani flag. It all seems like a plot against the local youth who oppose Pakistani presence in the region and demand implementation of the UN resolutions on Gilgit-Baltistan. The authorities are especially targeting the members of the Progressive Youth Front and its leader, Babajan Hunzai. 

On the other hand, all the members of the Hunza Peace Committee have resigned and presented themselves for arrest along with thousands of other women and children who remained gathered in front of Aliabad police station on 27th and 28th of August. 

Now the loyal leaders of the ruling party PPP are also turning against the chief minister. Reports have come of advisor to culture, tourism and youth, Sadia Danish, member of legislative assembly, Dr. Ali Madad Sher, and many others within the PPP disassociating from the chief minister. In a conversation, the Speaker of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, Wazir Baig, accused the Chief Minister Mehdi Shah of orchestrating the current extra judicial killings and arrest of dozens of innocent local youth. Mohammad Akhtar, the local finance minister, has also condemned these arrests. 

The chief ministers of Gilgit-Baltistan are selected by the president of Pakistan and therefore not answerable to the local people. Throughout their tenure, they remain subjected to military and bureaucratic pressures from the occupying country. 

The number of local youth targeted under government led enforced disappearances has reached over fifty. Majority of them have been taken into custody without registering cases. The security personnel have been reported of barging into the houses in the middle of the night without any search and arrest warrants and desecrate social values by manhandling the women and children.