GILGIT: A year after the Hunza riots, a regional body has demanded that results of the judicial inquiry into the incident be made public and that the responsible people be punished in light of the report.
The decision was made during a meeting of members of the regional body, Hunza Qaumi Markah, held to mark the first anniversary of the riots, in which a man and his son were killed in police firing. The members also demanded the release of all the people detained by security forces in the wake of the tragedy.
The incident occurred on August 11 when police opened fire on a group of protesters in Aliabad who were demanding payment of compensation money. The protesters were among the 25 of the 457 families displaced by the formation of Attabad Lake, following a landslide into the Hunza River, who had not been compensated.
The police opened fire to clear the Karakoram Highway for Chief Minister Mehdi Shah to pass, killing two unarmed protesters, Afzal Baig, 22, and his father, Sherullah Baig. Their deaths triggered riots in the valley and enraged protestors torched a police station and other government offices.
A number of activists involved in the movement were rounded up by security forces and detained in different jails. A few activists, including Progressive Youth Front member Baba Jan, were allegedly tortured and still remain in illegal custody.
A judicial inquiry was later conducted into the incident after G-B’s Supreme Appellate Court took a suo motu notice. However, the inquiry report was never made public.
The government must initiate proceedings against those nominated in the First Information Report registered by relatives of the deceased men soon after the tragedy, said Wazir Mujahidullah Baig, while presiding over the meeting.
The participants decided against adopting violent steps for acceptance of their demands, adding that “the particular situation of G-B did not warrant such an indecent approach”.
The district administration, in a bid to prevent demonstrations in the valley on the anniversary of the riots, imposed section 144 across Hunza on Saturday, barring assembly of more than five people.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2012.