Why I hate Chilas

Updated Jul 02, 2013 01:46pm

Fairy Meadows below Nanga Parbat. -Photo by author
Fairy Meadows below Nanga Parbat. -Photo by author
I hear that Chilas is a ghost town these days, its inhabitants spooked by the killings of the international mountain climbers (and one Pakistani guide who had a Shia name), who were camping at Nanga Parbat’s Diamer Face base camp at almost 4,200 meters above sea level. That meant the attackers had to climb up almost 18 hours and needed to be skilled climbers – that indicates that they were no ordinary Taliban from the plains or even the tribal areas (the Tehreek-e-Taliban spokesman has claimed that the assault was carried out by its sub group, Jund-ul Hifsa). They had to be locals who were familiar with the high mountain terrain and could climb up to those heights without suffering from altitude sickness. Indeed the Chief Secretary of the area has claimed that the terrorists belong to banned organisations with 10 from Diamer, three from Kohistan and two from Manshera. Both the police chief and Chief Secretary say the Diamer jirga has helped them identify the accused, who are now hiding somewhere in the valley.

They did not rule out the possibility of the same group’s involvement in last year’s attacks targeting Shia passengers in Lulusar and Kohistan. Chilas is of course the capital of Diamer District and is a small town located on the left bank of the Indus River. The Karakoram Highway (KKH) passes right through it and there is a PTDC motel for travelers going onwards to Gilgit and Skardu. For me, it has always been a creepy place where women are nowhere to be seen and bearded men carry guns and stare at you with hostility – I always avoid stopping there while going by road to Gilgit or Hunza from Islamabad on the KKH. Last April, a crazed mob in Chilas town ended up lynching 9 Shia bus passengers traveling on the KKH. People from Chilas are inward looking and Wahabi-influenced – not at all progressive and tolerant like the predominantly Ismaili/Shia population of Gilgit, Hunza and Skardu. The towering mountains that ring Chilas are marked with huge SSP (Sipah-i-Sahaba) signs (although the organisation is now banned in Pakistan), and the main bazaar is named Muawiya Chowk. Need I say more?

For many years, the villagers of Chilas have prevented the government from building a larger airport with a longer runway on their relatively flat land (which would make it so much easier for tourists going to Gilgit and Hunza), for fear of an influx of outsiders to their area. The tiny airport at Chilas is currently closed for domestic flights and the town can only be reached through the KKH and also from the Kaghan valley passing over the Babusar Pass.

At-the-top-of-Babusar-Pass. -Photo by author
At-the-top-of-Babusar-Pass. -Photo by author

I have another reason for despising Chilas – last summer I decided to take the more scenic route over the Babusar Passon on my way back from Gilgit. The road over the Pass takes one into Naran in the Kaghan Valley and onwards to Mansehra and Islamabad. Our experienced driver, a Shia villager from Bagrote Valley near Gilgit, assured us it was a safe route – and would save us almost 2 hours in traveling time. What’s more, he told us it would be a drive we would always remember. His words proved prophetic indeed, for the day after we reached Islamabad, 19 Shia passengers were pulled out from three buses on the same route, and shot dead at around 7 am – the same time we were about to cross Babusar Pass 24 hours earlier. What should have been an amazing memory is forever tainted by the thought of those innocent men killed for merely having a different set of religious beliefs.

I clearly remember seeing villagers in small passenger buses crossing over the Babusar Top early in the morning. Most of them were half asleep as they got jostled around on the bumpy road. They were mountain men who worked in Rawalpindi or Islamabad in homes and offices and were heading back to their villages in Gilgit and Astore for the Eid holidays. After spending the night in Naran, they must have set out for Babusar Top in convoys of two or three buses in the early morning. Ironically, they had chosen this route not because it is more scenic, but because they thought it would be safer. After all, on February 28 last year, around 20 Shias were pulled out of buses at a place called Harban Nala in Kohistan, while traveling on the KKH en route to Gilgit, and killed. After this incident, the transporters began diverting their passenger vehicles away from the KKH to the Babusar road as they felt this route was more secure (bypassing both Kohistan and Chilas town).

The Mansehra-Naran-Babusar road is open during the summers and mostly closed in winters due to heavy snowfall. The buses we encountered on the road were all driven in convoys to keep safe. Even the buses we had seen earlier on the KKH before reaching Chilas were traveling in convoys escorted by armed Rangers. Yet, somehow, we had felt safe on our own, lulled by the expertise and talkativeness of our driver who cheerfully pointed out all landmarks and sights on the way. “Here on the left is the Nanga Parbat mountain – see that narrow road? It leads to Astore,” he had pointed out as we headed towards Raikot Bridge, which leads to Fairy Meadows and base camp Nanga Parbat.

Just before Chilas town we took the dirt road up to the Babusar Pass. Our mobile phones soon stopped working as we snaked up to the pass on the rough road. There were a few scattered villages with little children in rags playing on the roadside. This was unlike the rest of Gilgit-Baltistan, where school children are usually seen in smart school uniforms, often walking on the road with their satchels full of books. We were still on the Chilas side of the mountain pass and I was feeling anxious because the few grown ups we saw on the road did not look very friendly – they were weather-beaten shepherds, and some were carrying guns.

A few convoys of small buses passed us from the opposite side, and then we were alone on the road as our jeep laboriously made its way up the steep incline. The Babusar Pass is a lonely, wind-swept mountaintop with no settlements in sight. I stopped at a small outpost located near the top to pick the lovely purple flowers growing on the slopes. The only thing that the security personnel at check posts were concerned about was the presence of foreigners. “Is there a foreigner in the car?” is the question we were asked repeatedly at all the check posts in the area. Since the Raymond Davis debacle, the army and the government are cracking down on the travel of westerners in the country, and Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral are considered highly sensitive areas. In fact, foreigners are no longer allowed to travel to many places in the north without NOCs from the government. How strange that we are so concerned about the movement of foreigners but look the other way when armed militants freely roam our remote mountain areas carrying guns.

As we descended into the Kaghan Valley, the river alongside the road suddenly flowed into a large blue-green lake, the waters of which were so clear they mirrored the mountains towering above. We had arrived at Lulusar Lake and stopped to take pictures and marvel at the scenery.

Lulusar Lake. -Photo by author
Lulusar Lake. -Photo by author

Now I think back with horror that it was at this particularly scenic spot, far away from any check post or settlement, that the carnage must have taken place. This was where the gunmen dragged the Shia travellers off the buses and killed them at point blank range – the third such incident in the mountain region last year. According to news reports, they stopped three passenger vehicles, checked their ID cards for Shia names like Hussain (our driver’s name) or Ali, picked out the Shia men in three batches and then sprayed them with bullets on the roadside.

Near the check post. -Photo by author
Near the check post. -Photo by author

Before leaving for Islamabad I had gone to the Bagrote Valley, a predominantly Shia area of Gilgit where, during a meeting with the local elders, I was told: “This is a very tough area, and people have to cooperate with one another in order to survive. A few years ago it did not matter at all who was Shia or Sunni or Ismaili here. We married into each other’s families and there were no sectarian issues at all. Even now we don’t believe that there is a Shia-Sunni problem here – these killers come from elsewhere and they are trying to stir up trouble between us deliberately. What’s more, someone is protecting them because why else have they not been caught and brought to justice?”

Eyewitnesses to the Lulusar murders say that the attackers were mostly locals wearing military uniforms and they were unmasked, just like the killers on Nanga Parbat. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan also claimed responsibility for the Lulusar attack. The killers were never brought to justice and it seems unlikely that the killers of Nanga Parbat will be caught as well, despite all the public outrage. This is what one of the survivors of the Nanga Parbat attack, a Polish mountaineer who had luckily climbed higher and therefore was not at base camp the night of the murders, had to say: “Everybody who plans to climb a mountain in Pakistan should rethink their plans, because the Taliban officially informed that tourists will be targeted in further attacks. It should also be noted that it is a complete change in their terrorist activities, because so far no attack was done against foreign tourists. Prosecution of the murderers is very difficult, because the current Pakistani government is sympathetic to the Taliban.”

If the murderers of the Shias had been caught and sentenced last year, perhaps those mountaineers would have still been alive today. It is time that our media and civil society became more vocal about the killings that are being “allowed” in one of the most beautiful and peaceful mountain areas of our country – once a magnet for tourists and adventure seekers, now an isolated region full of anger and fear.


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The writer is an award-winning environmental journalist based in Islamabad, who also covers climate change and health issues.



She can be reached at rinasaeed@gmail.com


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (58) Closed




Shamshad Ali
Jul 02, 2013 01:12pm

Personally I hate killing any human being on earth. But in this articles gives some biased approach of the writer towards Chilas. The claims are mostly baseless (the Chilas airport; though the people of Chilas demand for it) and made on the widespread rumors. Acts of terrorism and crime should not be portrayed as collective act of all the people living in Chilas or Diamer. The reports say that the terrorists has abducted local persons to guide them to the base camp it self indicates that the people were unfamiliar with the locality and routes. I condemn this act of terrorism and all should condemn it, BUT please don't mess into the matters pertaining to the culture and beliefs of Chilasi people. This would create more hate instead of peace.

imtiaz
Jul 02, 2013 01:21pm

The pakistan army should carry out a clean operation in this area and make check posts everywhere which also have rescue helcopters and communication devices if any toward inccidents occur so that they can arrive at the scene instantly. Also the women of this region are almost completely illiterate, therefore they are not able to educate there childeren or teach them moral values. The government must take steps to educate the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Nazia Zainab
Jul 02, 2013 01:21pm

There is no Justice at all in Pakisan !

Waqar Rizvi
Jul 02, 2013 01:34pm

It doesn't stop here. Apart from the killings of shia passengers and tourists, the dumb people of this area live in the darkness of ignorance, tribal animosities, sexually assault of women and children. Couple of weeks ago 3 women were killed just because they 'in their home' enjoyed rain. lol people are killed even for enjoying life. Such a pity. The literacy rate of this area is below 10%. Imagine! When you pass by chilas you get a sense of what we've read in the pre-Islamic Arab where people used to bury the infants, slaughter innocent people. I've never seen such merciless people in my life neither read in the history. This is just because of a theocratic society rapidly prevailing while forgetting all human values. Even in Gilgit city, those involved in the target killings, belong to Chilas, Darail, Tangeer. You'll never see governments writ in practical cuz those people have built their own state within state. Pakistan government needs to focus this area to eradicate extremism and terrorism.

To the Author: Well composed article. Thumbs up. I had a very similar story but couldn't shape it into words. May be I didn't think about it. :) God Bless You

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE
Jul 02, 2013 02:00pm

This article is interesting? During the last 65 years since independence how many shias were killed in Chilas? As is argued by the author the killers of mountaineers were not ordinary terrorists they were well trained and wanted to kill the mountaineers to isolate Pakistan. There is war going on in Pakistan. It has similarity between what is going on other parts of the middle east. It is called assymmetric warfare. The enemy is using local groups which have some grievances due to poor governance in Pakistan. The objective is to weaken the state institutions so that Pakistan can be subdued. God willing Pakistan will survive this onslaught. As Afghanistan settles down so will we. My heart goes out for the people of Chilas who are suffuring at the hands of terrorists.

Syeda Jafri
Jul 02, 2013 02:24pm

V.well written & well composed article. I fail to understand why the so called educated class of our society does not condemn these killings openly? Indeed a society can not be run with injustice. These innocent killings have their impact on overall downfall of our culture & society

Hussain
Jul 02, 2013 02:48pm

@Shamshad Ali: So it appears to you that the Gunar-das Chilas massacre was an act of a few?

Ghazala Malik
Jul 02, 2013 02:49pm

Good piece of writing! Any person who believe on human values can't appreciate the wild environment around Chilas, Darail and Tangeer areas still maintained by the inhabitants and the area is no go area for any human being. They are still living in a stone age which is worse than pre Islam arab. Unfortunately apart from all this situation the inhabitants believe that they are the real muslim. The Mullas the real of enemies of Islam are responsible for the situation in Diamer district of GB. This is foolish thinking of those people who still think that in the terrorists attacks on KKH and Nanga Parbat there are foreign hands in all these attacks local were involved. The video clips of killing innocent shia passengers in Chilas are available every where and one can see that how brutally local people belongs to all age groups actively participated like a holy event. If government or security agencies are honest to bring back the peace in this area than they must start a operation against the criminals in the area and another side govt should take immediate measures to bring the population of the area in the mainstream by ensuring education and health facilities in the area. Pak army should also take immediate action to ensure the protection of KKH which is not only the life line for the local but also for pak army.

Parvez
Jul 02, 2013 03:24pm

Every time I read you, I step one step closer to becoming a die-hard fan. In order to catch the real culprits of these senseless killings one would have to travel west and land up in land of sand, oil and the mighty US dollar that flows from it..............and we have no Superman, not even a Mighty Mouse in our fair land who could be called upon to do the job.

Noor
Jul 02, 2013 04:14pm

I do not think this blog post does justice with the ordinary people of Diamer, particularly Chilas, who are hardworking and impoverished, like their fellows from other parts of the Gilgit-Baltistan region. Such expression of hate might not help the people of Chilas, in any way, except maybe alienating them from the regional mainstream, or building more frustration and more violence.

Why did the writer forgot the fact that hundreds of people were saved and sheltered, at the risk of falling victims themselves, by the common people of Chilas when the "crazed mob" was going on the rampage and the state and the government were nowhere to be seen?

I squarely put all the blames for these killings on the state and government of Pakistan, who have continuously failed to lift the region out of the clutches of poverty, while pushing for building roads, dams and what not on the land of Diamer and other areas of Gilgit-Baltistan. Where was the state and what did it do when the schools were being bombed? Where was the state and what did it do when militants infiltrated some remote parts of the area and established militant training camps? Where was the state and what action did it take when tens of thousands of children were left at the mercy of Mullahs and Madressahs, where nothing but hate is preached and promoted? Did the state/government create opportunities for the people to come out of the trap of poverty?

I also think the people running the show in GB, the FCNA and the Chief Secretary and the toothless GBLA, are partners in crime, who have done nothing substantial to change the course of development in the region.

The people of Chilas and Diamer deserve more than bashing. I am sure they are not happy with with what is going on in their region. But I ask you, how much control do you have over what goes on in Islamabad or Karachi or Peshawar or Quetta or any other city of Pakistan?

If this "philosophy" of hate is valid, than the cities of Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore and Quetta need to be hated more, coz these cities are real killing fields for people of all sects and religions and ethnicity.

Muzz
Jul 02, 2013 04:43pm

Have been to Chilas quite a few times, for the sake of exploring the Northern Areas, and though I am not a Shia I cannot agree more with the author.

zubair
Jul 02, 2013 05:09pm

@Waqar Rizvi: Hey Mr! only high qualified and distinguish personalty of GB let me clear you narrow minded thoughts about chilas as well as diamer ..you know literacy rate of ghoorabad is cent% tehsil of chilas. top bueracates , top police officers top judicial office holders first PHD dr first, V.C, first medical dr first graduate from Ali ghar university from distric diamer which world you are living mr?in last five year people hunza as well balties are coming in some post because of people party in govt there other wise who knows about theem?the way author trying his best to declare them as terrorist i also hate people of danyore and jutal they killed a police general people of nagral they killed judge of anti terrorism court people of burmus and hospital road they killed innocent patients in hospital people of nopura they killed a agriculture director i hate people of nomal they brutily injured former SP gilgit they kidnapped IGP last year so when ever try to say nagative look at you first........ lots of things in my mind but short of time......Author is completely ridiculous ...........

atta
Jul 02, 2013 05:52pm

@Shamshad Ali: you say right, i agreed with you.

Jeepor
Jul 02, 2013 06:02pm

I find this article very surprising because I travelled several times through Chilas along the KKH, but I never felt in danger also if I travelled with three girls. The only thing that I noticed is that in the village of Chilas there were no women anywhere. And I remember my comment: "How do you produce children if you have no women?" Very often I dreamt of a track to Fairy Meadows and I think that the area has tremendous touristic possibilities. Thinking of the lake that will be produced by the Basha dam and of the hot springs, there are wide possibilities for everyone. Probably this is what someone wants to destroy and keep the man at cutting trees that remain for years on the road side and nobody buys.

M Aslam
Jul 02, 2013 06:20pm

A good and wise attempt to spread hate, secterianism, and violence.

Nasir Hussain
Jul 02, 2013 06:29pm

some thing is fishy there,GB govt says they know terrorists are hiding in mountains of Diamer ,even they have given names of terrorists,but till now they are not taking action against them, maybe they are waiting for a new tragedy..

Syed
Jul 02, 2013 07:17pm

Thank you dear author for bringing up these painful events. We Shias have been suffering for a while and it seems these killers have become stronger and stronger. I don't live in Pakistan but I never even imagine visiting these beautiful places in Pakistan. In fact my cousin just went to Naran and the area looks absolutely breathtaking. I'd rather pass though as I know there is really no law an order in Pakistan and there are forces that protect these monsters just like you mentioned in your article. I really appreciate your efforts and I really hope our silent majority wakes up from their sleep and put these people in their proper place or they will feel just as unsafe as the Shias of Pakistan.

Abbas
Jul 02, 2013 07:23pm

Long live Rina, few are left with any courage to voice out against these blood hounds let loose on our land.

Hameed
Jul 02, 2013 08:12pm

@Shamshad Ali:I dont agree with you man.Some days a go i saw a video of the shia killing in Chilas on a website.The people who were attacking those travellers was not just some lunatic terrorists.They were as the author has said above was a mob of crazies.and everyone is involved from childern to the old and that is a serious problem.They were acting like some demons from hollywood movies.Those murdurer were people,and the people were murdurers.

A Khan
Jul 02, 2013 08:27pm

@Shamshad Ali: You are absolutely right

asad
Jul 02, 2013 08:27pm

well written, nowadays whenever i am reading articles, one thing is all common. there is no solution. According to many authors, one cannot negotiate with them, from the past few years we have seen that fight against them we weren't able to achieve anything at all. Extremism has increased. what about the swat operation?? i am always amazed what make it so easy for army to cleanup swat but are unable to do so in other parts of the country.? Its heart wrecking seeing this country is dividing, based on area, language, religion sections. Above all NO justice. Is there any solution??

A Khan
Jul 02, 2013 08:34pm

@IBN-E-ASHFAQUE: thank you for your kind words,yes some heartless barbaric elements indulge in act of terror and we people if Diamer particularly chilas suffer.This has been going for a long time now and its time we also make our voice heard.

BRR
Jul 02, 2013 08:52pm

For years the pak military helped militants setup training camps all over. Now they have locals who want to continue those same policies and support militancy - the locals having more faith in the militants than in the greater Pakistani society, which is perhaps too liberal for them. No hope in the short term.

A Khan
Jul 02, 2013 09:10pm

No educated and rational person starts an article by advocating hate,you can be hated for your bias views,In your words people should hate karachiates due to all terrorist activities and mass killing that goes on there? NO! on the contrary the very same region must be uplifted,educated and brought into national or regional sphere to give them equal leverage inorder to diminish and exterminate radical ideas imposed or flourished there.

edwardian
Jul 02, 2013 09:42pm

In May 1988, a planned massive sectarian attack took place by a militant Lashkar made by people of Chilas, Darel and Tangir. The idea was to spread Mullah's Islam. The attack was against the Shias and several Shia villages on the outskirts, south of Gilgit were looted and burned.
After three days of plunder FC was eventually sent in. By the time things came under control hundreds were killed and injured. Property worth millions of rupees was destroyed. This place always breeds hatred and people from the area are savages by nature.

Ahmed
Jul 02, 2013 10:27pm

If our Government and/or establishment were really serious, they would have follow money trail and get these ill faith, ill literate, intolerant wahabi's kicked them back to where the money is flowing from, or hang them.

I am a Sunni and completely agree with author. Hate is not the teaching of our beloved profit (PBUH) and his sahaba's. Imagine if any of Sahabi living in this era, would he approves this cowardly act?

Tariq
Jul 02, 2013 11:37pm

The orders to the personal at check posts should not be to just stop the foreigners but also report suspicious, gun carrying banned out-fits miscreants to superior officers of the Rangers guards or the Army instead of turning a blind eye to such menace. How else are the authorities going to address this menace?

Tahir A
Jul 02, 2013 11:55pm

Extremely well written article keeping aside the ghoulish happenings.

Rina you need to be writing books but not novels.

Good luck and keep it up.

Jehandad
Jul 03, 2013 12:52am

I appreciate your concern and the fact that life must be valued at all costs, something missing since the last few years in our country. But to demonize a particular area / cast of people etc is not fair. What actually should be the emphasis is that justice must prevail. I agree to the fact that if such people are put to justice and maybe even hanged in public it would create a feeling that whoever does wrong will be punished. But your article gives a feeling that Chilas and all Chialsis are devils in human form which of course is not the case. I believe the incapacity to act is being a silent party to the crimes, and thus our government machinery is partly responsible to all this. Moreover all this is not just an indigenous effort by the people of an area, such acts usually require resources and coordination and most of all money. What really needs to be done is to cut that so that their sources and hence the motivation would lessen, presently (and unfortuantely) it is the most profitable business with the least risk ! That needs to be highlighted and not blaming it on a particular kind of people or area. Such hate spreading would not improve the situation but wrosen it. Imagine if you had a colleague from chilas, how would you face him / her after this article ?

Sam
Jul 03, 2013 02:22am

As one who has hiked many times in the Himalaya, I can say that one does not need to have climbing skills to have base camp. 4200 m is not too high, and the killers could well have acclimatized to the altitude elsewhere before making a dash to the base camp to commit the murders. I feel sorry for Pakistani tourism as mountaineers were bringing in valuable foreign exchange.

koh
Jul 03, 2013 06:35am

Kohistanis are the most barbarians people you could imagine.

Vikki, Pul Bangash, Dilli
Jul 03, 2013 07:11am

@Nazia Zainab: Justice and Pakistan do not go together........

AR
Jul 03, 2013 07:52am

Why our government is sleeping on this issue. How can a banned organisations have slogans written and are not removed. It shows double standard of our leaders. These militants have supporters in every government departments including our defence forces snf intelligence agencies.

pramod Kumar
Jul 03, 2013 09:17am

@Shamshad Ali: Thank god you said hate killing of human being. normally, most of the people write they hate killing of Muslims like they are ok with the killing of non Muslims.

Jaffar Ali
Jul 03, 2013 11:09am

@Noor: Agree with your thoughts this is the responsibility of the govt and security agencies to encounter the terrorism and provide basic facilities in the area. But unlike other parts of Gilgit-Baltistan the communities of these areas could make efforts to uplift their quality of life. In other parts of GB like Hunza, Ghizer, Skardu and Astore etc communities organized themselves and struggle to get rid of illiteracy and poor quality of life. People of Chilas/darail/tangeer areas are same like other parts of GB but Unfortunately the religious extremist particularly Mulas took control over these beautiful areas. They kept away these innocent, hardworking and sincere people from education instead they introduce religious extremism among them. The people of these areas should unite to get rid of these mullas and throw away the criminals and get their basic rights through collective efforts and also with the help of their brothers who have already achieved these objectives.

Faroze
Jul 03, 2013 11:16am

More killings of innocent people belong to every part from Pakisan than Chilas have been occurred in 6 kilometer radious of Gilgit town since 2005, this should also be discussed and brought to notice of readers.

chiefjustic
Jul 03, 2013 12:20pm

A very biased article. You can not generalize your experience on the whole area. These people are brave and they have a different culture than yours. The fundamental Islam which breeds from the most so called civilized worlds has corrupted their minds but there is no reason you should hate people. Your hate will only recipocrate. I have so many Chilasi friends who are live loving and sad about the incidents. So calm down

chiefjustic
Jul 03, 2013 12:24pm

@Syeda Jafri: Mr. Jafri---your comment is not fair. The culprits are you friends and supporters in Iran who instigates the Chilas incident. What Irans hate for Saudi Arabia has to do with people of GB or otherwise. This article is biased and we should accept and condemn such writings.

chiefjustic
Jul 03, 2013 12:28pm

@Noor: I agree with Noor. The hatred should be more towards FCNA, and real supporters of crime. I am from Hunza and I love my brothers in Chilas.

gopal
Jul 03, 2013 01:10pm

@Shamshad Ali:

''Acts of terrorism and crime should not be portrayed as collective act of all the people living in Chilas or Diamer.''

You are right. Do you think all muslims are terrorists? No, only a small minority. But all muslims are painted with the same brush by the non-muslim world. It is the people's perception which is very difficult to change.

Abu Haris Shujaat
Jul 03, 2013 01:24pm

Personally I don't like the killing of human being on earth. But in this article gives some biased approach of the writer towards Chilas. The claims are mostly baseless as mentioned about Chilas Airport as the people of Chilas demand for its reconstruction many time but the Govt of Pakistan give no notice to it. Acts of terrorism and crime should not be portrayed as collective act of all the people living in Chilas or Diamer. The reports say that the terrorists has abducted local persons to guide them to the base camp it self indicates that the people were unfamiliar with the locality and routes. I condemn this act of brutality BUT please don't mess into the matters pertaining to the culture and beliefs of Chilasi people. This would create more hate instead of love. I spent 14 years their and I found them more generosity then any person in Giglit Baltistan. One thing I want to mentioned that the writer try to show the brutal face of Diamer but ignore the facts that in many incident the people of Chials and Diamer not only save the passengers from the mob but also give safe passage to them fro Giglit. One thing more that the incidents took place in Diamer the Diamer Jiraga fully cooperate with Government and hand over the culprits to the Police i.e. Farm incident and now Nagaprbat incident 4 out of 10 nominated criminals were hand over to the Police by Diamer Jirga.

Ghulam Mustafa
Jul 03, 2013 01:39pm

@Ghazala Malik: Ghazala, don't have any hopes on Pak Army.The only thing they are good at is conquering their own people

MUNIB
Jul 03, 2013 01:45pm

I am a person who has GB roots but currently live in KHI and while i mostly agree to what writer has said about Chilas but here is my question, if anyone could reply:

Currently i live in KHI and its the, so called, most educated and literate city, how come the situation here is worst than what it is in Chillas ?

How come this city is hostage to militant political groups and how come the LIBERAL mind KARACHIITES are not able to fight these groups even with their so called enlightened world view?

Lets not single out Chillas , if RATIONALISM has any place here. The situation in Chillas is no different w.r.t LAW and ORDER when it comes to rest of COUNTRY.

Yes the people of Chilas are backward and there is no freedom for women but what GOOD the women with so much freedom in KHI have been able to do ?

How come people like Zahra Shahid continue to be killed in KHI if its only about the SSP and banned jihadi groups.

Lets try to see things from a BIRD EYE view.

Ghulam Mustafa
Jul 03, 2013 01:41pm

@IBN-E-ASHFAQUE: Pakistan is a failed state.accept it and move on with your lives

Ghulam Mustafa
Jul 03, 2013 01:42pm

@Nazia Zainab: Thanks for telling me.i thought pakistan was a heaven on earth

Kashif
Jul 03, 2013 02:15pm

Once again a failed attempt by the same author to spread word of hate & sectarianism...I wonder how come Dawn allows such articles to be published from their plateform

Najabat Ali.
Jul 03, 2013 03:28pm

We cannot go for denial after reading the article becoz the writer has disccussed the ground reality of Chillas Valley where couple of days back innocent foreigners were killed along their Pakistani guide. Before this perpetual killing of Shia innocent passengers cannot be forgotten. But here we should not forget the efforts of peace loving people of Chillas who always condemn these inhuman and violent action of terrorists. We should appreciate them and encourage to take some solid steps to discourage the terrorists so that they should not use the land of Chillas and Diamer for their inhuman objectives. There is a need to increase literacy rate in Diamer like other aeas of Gilgit Baltistan. Unfortunately Diamer is in the domination of Molvis (Neem Mulla) who are not the true representatives of religion. They are continuously misusing the people of Diamer especially the youth for their so called Jihad. Their Jihad is actually terrorism, killing of innocents. I request the true representatives of religion like Molana Tariq Jamil and other scholars to make their contribution in these area to make people understand about the true spirit and real message of islam. So that people should not be misused by a molvi who is working on payroll of America or Israel. I conclude with the pray May God bring peace in Gilgit Baltistan.

Faisal
Jul 03, 2013 03:43pm

@M Aslam: What are you talking about man? how did she spread hate in this article ?

asad
Jul 03, 2013 04:53pm

definitely u have right to express ur views. Dear writer what i think, here is the fault line lies , we should not discuss their way of life its their tradition,custom and i found chilasi very much strict about his customs and traditions. the point of discussion here should be about those elements which had gained deep roots in their social circle and propagating extremism and on the same side equal shares on govt tiers which fails to provide basic facilities like education,health, and economic platforms for the inhabitants of chilas district we can see the difference in the area of GOAR locating in the same district the same land produces well renowned doc ,engrs and scholars of GB.

tahir Zain
Jul 03, 2013 05:16pm

I have been to Fairy Meadows. Its one of the most beautiful places in the world.

As a shia i was a bit surprised when I saw the giant SSP sighs 'adorning' the mountains. it was not till our gun toting guide told us that they had cleansed Chilas of the Shia that I realised I was definitely not welcome there.

Afzal Khan
Jul 03, 2013 05:43pm

@A Khan: In any other situation I would agree with you ... really! Just once, only once go to Chilas and spend ONLY two nights there ... come back and say the same thing! These are not people ... not even sub humans and the way they think would made you shudder ...

Afzal Khan
Jul 03, 2013 06:14pm

@Noor: You too should go to Chilas and spend a few days there. Easy to say what you are saying when you have no clue! If you were on the bus that was stopped, searched, ID cards checked, shirts lifted to see if you had scars on your back and then mercilessly shot or stabbed to death ... these were not a few madmen ... children, old men and the youth all participated. Yes ... you should really go and have a chit chat with them!

M.A.S
Jul 03, 2013 07:49pm

Totally agree. I don't know why are kohistani people so mentally retarded. There were bunch of people who ran away from there area and settled down in ours. They started to loot the area which forced the people to hand them over to police. and now, many friends from Gilgit have also told me to travel by air to gilgit instead of car.

Mubashir
Jul 03, 2013 10:47pm

How come the dawn allowed such an article to be posted on their website. Such an article is more damaging the already damaged Pakistan. We should try to build it's image. Even if there is criticism it should be constructive. Such an article would encourage sectarianism and it seems like Dawn is supporting the view.

usama chilasii
Jul 03, 2013 11:39pm

i"m totaly shocked hw this article by a irresponsible nd uneducated person has been published by such a big newspaper....

Imran
Jul 04, 2013 06:25am

@Ghulam Mustafa : Pakistan is still a heaven on Earth,people are not angles..

Imran
Jul 04, 2013 06:34am

@Nazia Zainab: Well when we cant even vote people who promise Justice... then how come there will be Justice

Syed Irfan Ali
Jul 04, 2013 11:30am

What a blog! I read it with great interest as I spent two and a half years from July 2002 to Dec 2004 living in the beautiful valley of Gilgit. I loved the region and it's people. They were very beautiful days of my life as I traveled far across NA from Skardu to Hunza, Khunjerab Pass, Chilas, Shandoor Festival and Chitral etc. I visited Bagrote, Naltar and Phander valleys also. Ghizer is full of beautiful valleys.

I agree with u totally. In those days I couldn't think that the situation will go that verse. May the situation in that scenic part of our beloved country improve! Amen.