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WATCH: Massive Protest Erupts In Gilgit Baltistan Against Pak Govt After Shia Cleric's Arrest

Shia community in Gilgit-Baltistan has come together against the Pakistan government over an FIR filed against the Shia cleric.

Pakistan News
| Written By
Digital Desk

Sit ins and protest demonstrations in Astore district in Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan | Image: ANI

The law and order situation in Gilgit-Baltistan has taken a downturn following a series of protests that originated in Chilas (Diamer) and subsequently spread to other parts of the region. Additional sit-ins and demonstrations have been noted in the Astore district as the Shia community stated that they are being targetted by the Pakistani government. This comes after an FIR was filed against Sheikh Baqir Al-Hussaini, a well-known Islamic Shia cleric residing in Skardu, for allegedly making "disrespectful" comments about the Prophet, which the cleric has denied.

In an exclusive footage accessed by the Republic, the Shia community in Gilgit-Baltistan can be seen protesting against the Pakistan government and the Army against the FIR filed against the Shia cleric. Coming in large numbers, the grieved citizens revolted against Islamabad.

In Chilas, the Karakoram Highway remains obstructed, while traffic on Babusar Road has been halted. Demonstrators have also effectively closed off several routes within Gilgit city.

However, the recent events have instilled fear and apprehension across the region due to the history of sectarian conflicts, which have unfortunately resulted in numerous casualties.

A group of elected officials and administrators held discussions with the demonstrators in Chilas, urging them to allow passage for travellers on the Karakoram Highway. Despite this, the road was once again blocked by demonstrators.

Efforts by officials, political figures, and religious leaders are ongoing in order to reopen the highways and ease tensions.

Contrary to rumours, the GB Education Department has denied any plans to close schools in Gilgit city on Monday. Some private educational institutions, however, may remain closed, as reported by Pamir Times.

Shia community in Gilgit-Baltistan struggling under Pakistan's administration

Gilgit-Baltistan, a Shia-majority region falling under Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, grapples with economic challenges and a lack of quality educational facilities. This has led to the proliferation of madrasas that often propagate sectarian hatred and extremism. The fragile political and judicial systems have further exacerbated sectarian violence in the region.

Despite its significance in addressing local needs, the Karakoram Highway has become a source of contention. Residents express concerns about its use by individuals from different parts of Pakistan, leading to travel hesitations based on sectarian affiliations.

The region's history reflects manipulation by various powerful entities within Pakistan, such as the Army and the ISI, who have exploited divisions to serve their strategic interests, thus contributing to sectarian tensions.

These multifaceted issues have collectively contributed to the escalation of sectarian violence in the region.

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