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To be taken to task: G-B Assembly condemns police attack on Ismaili leader

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GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Assembly on Friday unanimously condemned the attack on the president of the Ismaili Regional Council by a police official, which has triggered protests across the region.

HunzaNews,June 7th, 2014.

Colonel (Retd) Ubaidullah Baig sustained injuries on his head on Thursday evening after he was allegedly hit by a police constable. Baig was reportedly trying to refrain police from demolishing a boundary wall of a graveyard in Zulfiqar colony when he was attacked.

Followers of the Ismaili sect protested and blocked roads in Gilgit, Ghizer and Hunza-Nagar valleys, demanding the arrest and punishment of the culprit.

“Is this the reward for increasing salaries of police?” Fida Nashad of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) asked during the question hour on the third day of the G-B Assembly proceedings chaired by speaker Wazir Baig.

“Instead of improving law and order, they themselves are creating a situation of lawlessness,” said Nashad.

Maulana Sarwar Shah of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) also condemned the incident and termed it an attempt to widen the sectarian divide between communities living in the region.

Criticism also poured in from lawmakers, including Mirza Hussain, Bashir Ahmed and Amina Ansari of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Janbaz Khan and Sultan Ali of PML-N, Ayub Shah, Shireen Fatima and Wazir Hassan of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), who termed it ‘police terrorism’.

Replying to the onslaught, the law minister said the culprits would be taken to task as soon as the chief minister takes up the matter.

Wazir Baig, in his ruling, directed the government to arrest the police officer before conducting an enquiry so as to cool the tempers of those on roads. “The accused should be arrested first,” said the speaker. “This is not an ordinary incident. The president of the Ismaili Council is a representative of his Highness Aga Khan.”

Meanwhile, protesters dispersed on Friday after Ismaili Council leaders were assured of action against the accused.

Lift of ban on trade of gemstones

On a point raised by Wazir Hasan of PPP, the speaker directed the government to lift the ban on trade of gemstone for residents of G-B till laws are formulated by the assembly. “There is no justification to keep people associated with the gemstone business jobless in the name of making laws,” said the speaker.

Transfer of DIG

The speaker also directed the government to transfer Skardu DIG police for making derogatory remarks about the lawmakers. The DIG had allegedly warned a lawmaker from Baltistan, Sultan Ali, against “interfering in matters pertaining to police”.

Where is the money?

Wazir Baig has sought details of Rs10 million sanctioned last year for sports and tourism.

“Tell me who pocketed the money. If I ask these questions, it is said I play the role of opposition,” said Baig, known for making blunt comments. He asked the minister for information to conduct an enquiry and submit a report to the house. 

Express Tribune

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