GILGIT: Pakistan Army on Saturday, for the first time entered into the remote northern town of Chilas, headquarters of Diamer District, 128 KM off Gilgit, to conduct an operation to arrest miscreants behind killing of security officials and other terrorist activities.
“Troops of Pakistan Army have entered into the city and it is totally cordoned off and some four localities were searched out for particular people,” an official of administration said requesting not to be named.
He disclosed that only the top military officials were leading the operation so entire details about what has been achieved so far is neither known by administration nor police had any idea.
An army colonel, a captain and a senior superintendent of police (SSP), investigating the June 23 killing of nine foreign tourists and one of their Pakistani guides in the area, were killed on August 6.
Victims of the mountain assault included climbers from China, Lithuania, Nepal, Slovakia, Ukraine and one person with joint US-Chinese citizenship. One Chinese climber had escaped the attack.
Helicopters of Army Aviation kept hovering over the small town while exit and entry points of the city were sealed and people coming from far flung parts faced hardship to get access to hospitals.
People in this remote area spent the Eid Day inside their homes after gathering at the congregation and offering prayers because the city was heavily flooded with troops.
“It is unique and unusual so people got scared and preferred to remain at home because movements of the residents were already restricted by the troops in the heart of city where they initiated an operation,” a local reporter, Muhammad Aslam told Dawn.com on phone.
The markets were closed and intra city movements were also restricted but people had access to hospital with patients but only inside the town. However, some shops were opened in the late evening, said a resident.
Dwellers of the town were experiencing a new phenomenon which they never thought of in their lives as military troops kept patrolling in the town and people saw them from the windows of their homes.
The prayers leader in the town of Chilas, who led the prayers on Eid Congregation, Maulana Muhammad Ayaz came down hard on those who were behind attack on foreigners and three high profile security officials.
“How can we say they are Muslims? They are not even human. We strongly condemn the barbaric acts and want government to push them behind bars,” he spoke to the huge crowd.
“We are with the government, and they should have been arrested,” he continued. “May all of them go to hell,” he cursed. “How they can justify shedding blood of innocent humans.”
Separately, in an usual move another place Darel valley, some 80 KMs west of Chilas, Brugi village, witnessed arrival of troops who cordoned off the area and looked for some men.
The operation was led by Muhammad Navid, ASP Head Quarters Chilas, recently given charge of the Superintendent of Police following assassination of the Senior Superintendent of Police Hilal Ahmed.
Contact could not be established with Darel valley due to telephone network problem and situation could not be learnt.
Police remained tight lipped and did not leak any information regarding the operation while administration officials avoided phone calls unlike their routine.
It looked like either things were not in their hand or they were directed to keep secret until a specific time the information about what has been achieved so far.
Both the administration and Police sounded reluctant to share information and insisted to wait and see which way the wind blows. “You see we have really no idea as to what is going on as search is being conducted people are taken into custody but we can’t tell you the number of detainees and who are arrested until and unless we ourselves come to know,” a police official said seeking complete anonymity.
“May be seniors or the head of administration of the district are in position to tell what has been done so far,” he said.
However, another Police official said GB scouts, Frontier Constabulary and Police Force were also assign various duties. “The only thing I can tell you four localities in the town, namely KKH area, Jalil Muhallah, Shaheen Kowt and Takkia points are searched hitherto,” said the official wanting not to be named because he was not authorised to be quoted anywhere.
There was no resistance from the public and the operation is underway smoothly, he added.