Skardu, April 9: A wave of sectarian unrest is unfolding in the otherwise peaceful Baltistan division. A couple of days back a huge protest had been organized in Skardu city against ‘derogatory statements’ against religious leaders of a sect by members of another sect.
The allegations were rejected and condemned by leaders of the other sect, who termed it to be part of a plot to pit the two sects together.
Today, again, people came to the road and all business came to a halt in Skardu after unknown people painted some city walls with slogans against a sect. Aerial firing was heard in some parts of the city, adding to the already tense environment. The police have nabbed at least 4 people on the suspicion of being involved in the wall chalking and aerial firing incidents.
In the meanwhile, the Anjuman-e-Noor Bakhshia Sufia has condemned the wall chalking and appealed for peace and harmony.
Sheikh Hassan Jafri, a prominent religious scholar, has also appealed for peace and harmony, terming the incidents to be handiwork of those who cannot see the people of Baltistan united. He has said that external forces are trying to damage harmony of Baltistan and the people should act and react wisely.
Public circles across Gilgit – Baltistan have also expressed concern from the hitherto unheard incidents of sectarian disharmony in Skardu and Baltistan.
The government needs to use all its resources, as promised by the Chief Minister, to nib the menace in the bud and avoid a Gilgit – like situation in Skardu, a hub of tourism globally famous for its peace and beauty.
Failing to control the situation in Skardu would add yet another question mark to credibility and effectiveness of the governance system, because Gilgit has already been burning in the fire of sectarianism despite of the devolution of powers to elected representatives of Gilgit – Baltistan.