With zeal, charm and enthusiasm, we were practicing the game of cricket to participate in an inter-unit event, for the first time in Gilgit Serena’s history. We were regularly practicing for two weeks to muscle-up and brush our unprofessional cricketing skills. At last, after a short delay, the day for the tournament was announced and we were ready to go to Islamabad. Our HRM arranged a Hi-Roof Van of NATCO to take us to our destination. No body knew it was going to be a bloody journey.
We left on 3rd April 2012 at around 1 O’clock, midnight. All of the players were excited, gossiping and giving suggestions on how to perform better to make this journey memorable. We reached “thalichi” at 3:30 A.M and were stopped by Police arguing that we can only travel with convoy and that we have to stop there till 9:00 A.M. we tried to negotiate for early departure but in vain and the police didn’t let us go. Our GM with his family and our team captain were let go as there was no restriction on private vehicles to pass through.
At around 9:13 A.M we started our journey along with NATCO bus coming from Aliabad Hunza escorted by a police van(Luckily no vehicles came from Skardu that day).The police van that was heading our small convoy was picking personnel from different small check-points to counter the possible “strike” in chilas. We passed peacefully from Goner Farm. People were busy with there routine activities. As we approached a bridge before chilas, police stopped us for 7 minutes and suddenly ordered to return immediately towards Gilgit. Our van followed by the bus and the convoy coming from Rawalpindi started moving towards Goner Farm. While we were on the way back, people riding on around 30-40 motor-bikes intercepted us. They all were coming from Chilas side along with weapons like Kalashnikovs, Pistols and Sticks. The SP chilas along with some 20 – 25 police personnel were escorting the convoy. As we approached “Goner-Daas”, the people riding the bikes who had “over-taken” the convoy had blocked the KKH with big boulders and stones. Exactly at the same time, “teenagers” in Goner Farm and surroundings, had gathered in large number to block the road. A large number of people mostly teenagers, trapped us from all sides leaving no way to escape. The SP of Chilas along with the available police personnel tried to convince the militants and boys to let the convoy pass. In the meanwhile, a militant threw a (big) stone and smashed the forehead of the SP. He fell down on the ground and another militant opened fire leaving the SP critically injured. One of the Police officer then shot a bullet in the air.
Then the militants and the boys started throwing stones on the vehicles. They broke all the window glasses with sticks and stones. Earlier Police didn’t allow the passengers to come out of the Vehicles but when they were getting injured from glasses and stones, came out hastily. Women, old aged and children were crying loudly and were trying to escape behind boulders.
Then the militants started “identification parade”. All the convoy members were asked to keep their N.I.C in their hands. The militants then regrouped as “teams” to engage all passengers. The first unfortunate individual who was shot dead was a young boy of probably 17-19 years of age. When the militants killed him, they chanted “Allah o Akbar” and clapped repeatedly. The boy wearing Pent-shirt, fell on the ground and died. Sensing the danger, two young men ran towards the river Indus. Since there was some distance between the road and the river, they were madly running down the slop. The militants and the boys saw them and threw stones after them (they were in hundreds) opened fire and instantly killed them. Again chanted Allah o Akbar. Another two people were able to reach and throw themselves in the river. Four militants held one boy by his arms and legs and threw him from top of the height towards the river. One man of around 50-60 years of age was stoned to death.
The militants then blazed Mashabrum and K2 buses and Coasters along with the luggage. They also pushed three vehicles into the river.
We were inspected by two different “teams”. Our IDs checked and asked to read “SHASH KALIMA”. One of our colleagues couldn’t remember the Sixth Kalima (as he was very scared), he was asked to take off his shirt. When they didn’t find the sign of “ZANJIR ZANI” on his back, they let him go. Two more boys of our group were also checked to see the signs on their back.
We were then moved towards Goner Farm by some good people. It is worth mentioning that during the whole massacre, some people continuously tried to stop the militants and boys. They tried to tell them that you are troubling and killing innocent people. But they all were charged to kill and destruct.
We were then brought to Goner Farm in small groups. We were kept in the houses of Mr. Syed Ghulam. He told us that he was a retired Subidar. His Sons Mehfuz Ullah and others served us with tea, bread and biscuits. Another brave man, named Fida Ullah also played the pivotal role in saving us. The militants again tried to storm into the houses but Mr. Syed Ghulam and his family and some local Moulanas didn’t let them come inside the house and saved around 150 passengers.
The bloodshed continued for 2 long hours at the site. We waited for 3 more hours at the houses. At around 4:30 P.M some government officials, QRF and FC came at the site and we were accompanied by law enforcement agencies and Ulemma towards Gilgit. Since the Road was blocked in Jaglot, we waited for hours on KKH. After negotiations by Ulemma and government officials, we were able to reach Gilgit early in the morning. The GB Scouts arranged breakfast for the passengers and we were dropped at our respective destinations by GB Police and Scouts.
We salute the wise people of chilas for saving our lives and we never ever would like to see the cruel faces of the militants. It is a nightmare we will never like to see again.
We would like the government to give national awards to Mr. Syed Ghulam and Family, Mr. Fida Ullah, SP Chilas and Ulemma of Goner Farm.
We are hopeful that the “clash of ignorance” will soon come to an end.