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Loss of innocents: Second-grader’s death sparks rage and wrath

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GILGIT:  For a rare moment devoid of political mudslinging, the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) lawmakers expressed rage over the death of a second-grader who was hit by a car on Amphary Bridge and fell into the river below.

HunzaNews, June 10th, 2014.

The student of grade two was attempting to cross the bridge to reach his school on Monday when he was knocked over by a Suzuki pickup, and fell into the river below. Unable to resist the water current, the boy was swept away. Volunteers are still searching to recover his remains. The child was said to be a resident of Skardu enrolled in a school in Gilgit.

“I have no words to vent my anger,” said Fida Nashad, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) lawmaker from Skardu, on Monday during the 36th session of the G-B Assembly chaired by speaker Wazir Baig.

He questioned the role of guards standing on either side of the bridge and asked the speaker they be included in the investigation. “How was the student allowed to cross it (the bridge) on foot?” he questioned, criticising engineers in the public works department for not repairing broken sidewalls of the bridge.

“A tender worth Rs2.8 million for repairing the bridge was announced a year ago but regrettably it hasn’t seen any repair work since then,” said Amina Ansari of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid from Baltistan. She pressed Baig for a “fast-track enquiry” which leads to the arrest and punishment of the pickup’s driver.

The speaker then directed the government to lodge an FIR under Section 302 (attempted murder) against the driver and arrest him. “It’s really unfortunate that the government waits for such tragic incidents to happen before it takes any action,” remarked Baig.

And as per routine, the attention of lawmakers returned to criticising the chief of the region and Pakistan Peoples Party-led government.

Nationalist leader Nawaz Naji called for an FIR against Chief Minister Mehdi Shah, assigning blame for the fatality.

“This Mehdi Shah government has broken all previous records of corruption in the region,” said Naji. “One child has lost his life in this incident, but there can be many more – what if a passenger bus faces a similar fate?” 

Express Tribune

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