Gilgit, March 18: Police baton charged peaceful protesters gathered on invitation of the Rabita Committee of Mustaseerin-e-Gojal today in front of the Gilgit – Baltistan Legislative Assembly building. The protester also clashed with the police after being baton charged and exchange of punches and sticks continued for a few minutes. Also present during the baton charge was MLA Didar Ali, among others.
Hundreds of protesters had gathered in front of the assembly carrying banners and placards to ask the government for implementation of the charter of demand developed by Gilgit unit of the coordination committee of people of Gojal. Among the protesters were people from Jutal, Rahimabad, Nagar, Hunza and Gojal.
The clash erupted after people started moving towards the main gate of GBLA building demanding the chief minister to come out and address the protesters. Earlier the efforts of MLA Mutabiat Shah, Mirza Hussain and prominent Shia leader Agha Rahat al Hussain Hussaini had failed to disperse the protesters who wanted the chief minister to come out and listen to the demands of the people.
It is pertinent to note that at time of the protest the assembly was session and voting for election of the members of Gilgit – Baltistan Council was in progress.
The protesters chanted slogans against the chief minister, police department, home secretary and the government condemning the second event of baton charge of peaceful protesters belonging to Gojal valley.
Interestingly, while the police officials were baton charging the people holding placards and banners the air of Gilgit echoed with the “jubilation firing” of supporters of various members elected as members of the council, touted as the ‘upper house’ in the new governance setup of Gilgit – Baltistan. Celebratory gun shots were also fired by unidentified people near the assembly building. The police could not arrest anyone for open aerial firing.
Also ironic is the fact that yesterday Syed Mehdi Shah, chief minister of Gilgit – Baltistan had said that he will not allow the region to become a police state.