Protests intensify in Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan

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Massive protests in Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan
Massive protests in POGB (Photo - News Intervention)

Shia protests have intensified across Pak-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (POGB) after the Paki regime introduced the controversial bill that makes Shia faith blasphemous. The Paki officials employed in POGB denied the rumors of the Pak Army being sent in. They clarified that they have asked for the help of the Pakistan Army and civil armed forces only to ensure law and order during the upcoming observance of Chehlum of Imam Hussain next week. This fact is not true at all, and Rawalpindi is desperately trying to conceal the real reasons of Shia movement, which is due to the insensitive anti-Shia remarks made by Sunnis over the past few days.

It appears that the only route to connect Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (POGB) with Pakistan is the Karakoram Highway (KKH), which passes through Diamer and Kohistan. Ten years ago, buses traveling from Rawalpindi to POGB were stopped, and Shiite passengers were singled out based on their identity cards. At least on one such occasion the Shias were indiscriminately fired upon and were brutally shot dead in public. A video of this heinous act was captured and went viral on social media. Despite massive hue and cry by the Shias these Sunni terrorists were never arrested and till date no action has been taken against them. Gilgit-Baltistan has a long history of Shia-Sunni conflicts which most often is engineered by the Sunni Paki ‘establishment’, that uses it for ethnic cleansing.

Currently, protests and rallies are being taken out in Pak-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan’s largest city– Skardu. A massive Shia raly was held at Yadgar-e-Shuhada in which the speakers demanded that the Paki regime immediately withdraw the controversial blasphemy bill. At the time of writing this news report Shia protests are happening across Gilgit, Chilas and Diamer.

It should be noted that in early August, tensions escalated in POGB following the presentation of the Blasphemy Bill in Pakistan’s National Assembly. Religious groups started clashing in Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan, leading to protests and confrontations between leaders of both Shia and Sunni communities.

In Chilas, an influential religious leader, Maulvi Farman Wali, openly threated to kill Shias and take away their properties and women. This video went viral on social media. Maulvi Farman Wali had falsely accused Allama Syed Baqir Al Hussaini Naib Khatib Juma Skardu of insulting the Sahaba and demanded the police to register a case against him. Maulvi Farman Wali further threatened that if police did not arrest Syed Baqir Al Hussaini then Shias would chased on the Karakoram Highway and slaughtered en masse. He also reminded of the earlier slaughter of Shias in Gilgit-Baltistan and other parts of Pakistan.

Allama Muhammad Afzal Haidari, Secretary General of the Wafaq-ul-Madaris of Pakistan, has strongly condemned Qazi Nisar’s insolence in the honor of Imam Mahdi and demanded to file a case against Qazi Nisar. There are demands to arrest this fitna immediately and make it a lesson so that no one dares to be insolent about the holy personalities of Muslims.
While giving a speech at the protest sit-in at Skardu Jail-Ghar Chowk, a local Shia scholar said “Where the lives of Shias are not safe, you should not expect any good from us. If our lives and property cannot be protected, we are not interested in coming to Pakistan, our historical routes and Kargil Road should be opened”.

In response, the protests and rallies have spread throughout POGB. There have been complete shutdowns, road blockades, and protest rallies in all major cities. Internet services were suspended after which the Pak Army was called in to control the situation. Pakistan Army is ruthlessly trying to curb the Shia movement across Gilgit-Baltistan. According to the Gilgit-Baltistan Information Department, in major cities of POGB, the Rangers and FC have been deployed, and Section 144 has been enforced.

The protests have flared up and now seems to be out of Pak Army’s control. The citizens of POGB (Pak-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan) are now demanding a merger with India which has raised the temperature of the Paki ‘establishment’. They are now trying every means necessary to suppress these peaceful protests.

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