Political murder sparks protests in N. Areas

By Farooq Ahmed and Zulfiqar Ali Khan

GILGIT, April 21: Hundreds of people in Gilgit and Skardu on Tuesday took to the streets and traders observed shutter-down to protest the killing of Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (Nala) deputy speaker Syed Asad Zaidi.

The deputy speaker was seriously injured when his vehicle was ambushed by some gunmen on Monday. He was taken to District Headquarters Hospital where he died.

In Skardu, the enraged mob blocked the roads by burning tyres at a number of places.

A protest rally was taken out from the residence of Deputy Speaker in Skardu which turned into a huge public meeting at Yadgar Chowk. People in Hunza and Nagar expressed pain and anguish over the brutal killing of the deputy speaker.

All business centres and educational institutions remained closed in most parts of the valleys in protest against the killing.

In the meantime, Gilgit Police carried out search operation for the assassins throughout Monday night and took 20 suspects into custody for interrogation. Security in Gilgit and other parts of area has been tightened following the incident.

Meanwhile, legislators, political leaders and social workers from across Gilgit-Baltistan, including Hunza-Nagar condemned the gruesome murder of the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly deputy speaker Syed Asad Zaidi. They said the incident was aimed at disturbing the peace and harmony of the sensitive region of Northern Areas.

The Northern Areas Legislative Assembly Speaker Malik Miskeen suspending the normal business of the house allowed member Mohammad Aslam to present a resolution to condemn the killing of Deputy Speaker Syed Asad Zaidi.

Senior parliamentarian Fida Mohammad Nashad initiating the debate said the area had been deprived of a great parliamentarian. He demanded the government to arrest the culprits as early as possible.

In an emotional tone Mr Nashad condemned the terrorist act and said the incident had aggravated the security concerns of the members and asked the authorities to improve security forces performance.

Imran Nadim criticised Chief Executive Ghazanfar Ali Khan for remaining absent from the house saying at least on this tragic day he should have been present in the assembly.

He said that Deputy Speaker had a great role in getting Chief Executive elected but even today he betrayed the house.

A technocrat member from Diamer district also condemned this brutal act and asked the government to arrest the culprits and unmask the elements behind this conspiracy.

Wazir Walayat Ali said killing of the deputy speaker was aimed at spoiling the peaceful atmosphere of the area but people and political leaders would thwart the anti-state elements designs by demonstrating exemplary unity and restraint.

Amna Ansari saddened the house as she kept crying throughout her speech while lamenting the killing of deputy speaker.

Concluding the discussion, Nala speaker, Malik Mohammad Miskeen said killing of deputy speaker was solely an act of terrorism and asked people of the region to beware of terrorists who were out to destroy the brotherhood in the region.

PM offers condolences

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has expressed grief over the assassination of Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (Nala) Deputy Speaker Syed Asad Zaidi.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the prime minister condemned the assassination of Mr Zaidi and his companion, and asked the authorities concerned to probe the incident.

He directed the law-enforcement agencies to apprehend the assassins and bring them to justice.

Nala Chairman Qamar Zaman Kaira also condemned the killings. Source[Dawn]

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