By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Gilgit police have been protecting criminals in a number of cases, the chief judge of the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Supreme Appellate Court said on Tuesday.
The chief judge Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi’s remarks came during the hearing of a suo motu case on the deteriorating law and order situation in Gilgit, the capital town of the mountainous northern region.
Earlier, the court had asked the inspector general of police to submit a report before the court on Monday. However, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Amjad Khan appeared in court instead to represent the G-B police, which has come under severe criticism from the public after sectarian killings left five people dead and seven others injured over the past month.
“The issue of killings in Gilgit is a very sensitive one which must be dealt with seriously,” remarked the chief judge, adding that if the court’s previous orders were implemented and police were posted to other areas rather than their native ones, the law and order situation would have improved already.
Referring to an ambush in the Khomer area inside the cantonment which left one dead and another seriously injured, Justice Abbasi asked the DIG why the police was unable to stop target killings in the city.
The DIG responded by saying that the G-B police was short of manpower. However, he added that a new security plan had been chalked out to take the perpetrators of the violence to task. One of the criminals involved in the target killings had already been identified and a search operation has been initiated.
In reference to a grenade attack that left two people injured earlier this month, Khan said that two of the accused have been taken into custody and search for others was under way. He further added that the grenade attack issue was highly sensitive in nature and therefore, he could not present details to the court during an open hearing. The court in return asked the DIG to submit details of the incident in a written report.
Last week, authorities in Gilgit sealed the offices of three banned G-B based religious organisations – the Sabeel Organisation, the Tanzeem Nau Jawanaan-e-Ahle-Sunnat and the Shia Talba Action – in order to address the increased threat of violence in Gilgit during the month of Muharram.
The interior ministry had banned the outfits last month for their alleged involvement in sectarian violence.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.