GILGIT: Militants set up blockades on one of the major arteries linking Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with Gilgit-Baltistan, leaving a senior minister and several tourists stranded on Babusar Road near Chilas on Friday, sources told Dawn.

A voice clip shared on social media purportedly features Senior GB Minister Abaidullah Baig as saying that he was on his way from Islamabad to Gilgit when militants blocked the road to press authorities for the release of their accomplices from jail.

Sources said Habibur Rahman, GB’s most wanted militant commander who was accused of killing 10 foreigners in Nanga Parbat, and his accomplices blocked the road in Thak Village of Chilas in Diamer on Friday around 4pm, leaving travellers on both sides stranded.

Sources said the militants were demanding the release of their accomplices, including those involved in the gruesome murder of foreigners in the Nanga Parbat area and other terrorist incidents in Diamer.

Dawn tried to contact police and officials to confirm the reports, however, no one responded until the filing of this report on Friday night.

Sources said political leaders and officials from the district were enga­ged in negotiations with the militants.

Later, an interview said to be that of the GB minister surfaced on social media. In the audio clip, a man could be heard saying that negotiations with the commanders were underway who had two basic demands. “They have sought release of their accomplices from jails and imposition of Islamic laws, with no women sports activities,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2022

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