Armed group abducts four residents of Handarap village over ‘land dispute’

Monitoring Desk

GILGIT/ISLAMABAD/GAHKUCH: A group of armed people belonging to Kohistan district of KPK reportedly stormed a pasture in Handarap valley and abducted four local shepherds.

According to reports shared by multiple sources, the armed men were reportedly associated with Afreen Malik, an influential person belonging to village Kandia Badigo Gabral, in tehsil Komila, Kohistan.

The incident reportedly took place over a land dispute which is under trial in a session court in Gahkuch, headquarters of the Ghizer district.

Four shepherds, Akram, Ali Sher, Amir Wali and Alamgir, were reportedly abducted on gunpoint and taken across the valley to Kohistan. Four others reportedly saved their lives and reached the village. The escaped locals have reported that a group of 30 armed men attacked them and abducted their companions.

Inayat Abdali, a local activist and journalist, said that a hearing of the land dispute is scheduled to take place in a Session Court located in Gahkuch city on August 1, 2019.

Inayat Abdali further reported that Ghizer Police has reportedly filed an FIR and efforts are underway to recover the abducted residents of Handarap. He wrote that the locals have been demanding deployment of police and paramilitary forces in the area for a long time due to fear of similar incursions.

The escaped shepherds have told their villagers that the armed group said that they would release the abductees only after the disputed land over transferred to their name.

Safdar Ali Sherazi, a local leader of PTI, posted on social media that such land incursions have also taken place in the past. He appealed to the Army Chief to take notice of the attack.

Raja Mir Nawaz Mir, a political activist from Ghizer, said that the Gilgit-Baltistan has become an ‘orphaned land’, under attack from all sides.
Social media was abuzz with messages of condemnation and outrage, with people expressing surprise at the ‘brazen attack’. Netizens were also bashing the PMLN-led Gilgit-Baltistan government for failing to protect the region’s land and citizens.

Some reports suggested that locals of Handarap and adjacent villages had gathered and were ready to counter the armed group. Some expressed fear that such lawlessness does not augur well for the region’s long-term peace.

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