Wed. May 25th, 2022

GB Minister vows to defend rights of locals, after “being manhandled”

ISLAMABAD: Gilgit-Baltistan’s Minister for Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs, Raja Nasir Ali Khan has said that he was manhandled while traveling on the under-construction Jaglote-Skardu road.

The statement came out after videos of a brawl went viral on social media. The video shows stone-pelting and physical scuffling between the Minister and his companions and uniformed and ununiformed workers/officials of Frontier Works Organization.

Sharing his version of the incident on social media, Raja Nasir Ali Khan has said the people of Baltistan cannot be subdued through violence. He urged the officials to mend their behavior and ‘earn the respect’ of the locals. He has vowed to fight for the rights of locals, ‘whatever the cost may be’.

“I’ve always been an admirer of FWO, have good terms with their high ups and jawans equally. I’ve played vital role in sorting public land-use conflicts during Gilgit-Skardu Road construction. Have always tried my best to neutralise public angers against them”, Raja Nasir posted on Twitter. He went on to say that some ‘unprincipled and unprofessional individuals’ in the organization are drawing a wedge between the public and FWO through their ‘hooliganism’.

According to accounts shared by multiple sources, the Minister was traveling along with his family members and some other companions when their vehicles were stopped due to road blockade caused by construction work.

The videos show the minister demanding opening of the road and allowing the vehicles to pass through. This leads to exchange of harsh words that soon spiral into physical assaults. Other video clips show the Minister and his companions pelting stones on FWO workers. There are reports that FWO workers and laborers also pelted the minister and his entourage with stones.

Eyewitnesses have said that the attitude of the FWO officials is rude and demeaning towards the locals. They have accused the FWO officials of degrading local travelers and often subjecting them to verbal insults, especially when roads are blocked, and passengers must wait for long periods of time.

It is pertinent to note that a similar incident had taken place last year with GB’s incumbent health minister, Haji Gulbar Khan.

Locals have been complaining on social media about the routinely ‘harsh’ and ‘condescending’ attitude of the FWO officials towards the masses.

Protest demonstrations were held in Rondu, Raja Nasir’s home constituency, against the treatment meted to the Minister.  

Critics, however, say that public representatives should show more retraint and not resort to violence.

FWO has not issued any official statement about the incident so far.

Instagram did not return a 200.
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