9 November 2022
GILGIT-BALTISTAN: Scores of Chilas residents on November 9 held a protest against the burning down of a girls’ school in Diamer. All major political and religious parties attended the protest terming the incident an “act of terror”. The school was set ablaze in the Darel valley of Gilgit-Baltistan’s (GB) Diamer district by unidentified people in the early hours of Tuesday, Nov 8. The fire has completely gutted the school.
School students and teachers across Gilgit-Baltistan also protested against the attack on the school.
The local police had already filed an FIR. The FIR was registered under Section 6 (terrorist act) and 7 (punishment for the terrorist act) of the Anti-Terrorism Act as well as Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), and 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy the house, etc) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
GB Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid and Chief Secretary Muhiudeen Wani directed the police to arrest the culprits.
CM Khalid Khurshid termed the burning of the school “upsetting” and ordered the immediate repair of the school so that educational activities could be continued.
Local authorities have already begun work on the reconstruction of the school. Since the past few months, a spike in acts of extremism in GB is being seen.
In October, the locally run Mujahideen Gilgit Baltistan blocked the Babusar Road, a major linkway between GB and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They also abducted a GB minister Ubadullah Baig and a few other tourists who were travelling on the highway
The group is said to be an offshoot of TTP. The minister and other people were released after negotiations with the militants who demanded the release of their jailed accomplices in exchange. However, later the minister was said to have called the militants, “assets” of the state.