GILGIT, Feb 29: Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik said here on Wednesday that perpetrators of Kohistan killing were traced down and soon they would be produced before the nation.

Talking to journalists after having detailed meetings with religious scholars of various schools of thought, he said that it was not an incident of sectarianism rather an attempt to create law and order situation in the entire country.

Mr Malik said that Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts were given powers of police for three months to control the situation. He said that conspiracy of the enemies was thwarted.

He appreciated the religious scholars and said that they helped to control the situation by showing tolerance. He said that he visited the area on the special directives of the prime minister.

The whole cabinet was sad and shocked over the tragic incident that was planned to ignite riots, the minister said. He added that demands of the aggrieved people would be fulfilled at all costs. He also announced compensation of Rs1 million for relatives of each victim.

He said that highway police would be formed for safety of passengers on Karakoram Highway. Till formation of the force, Frontier Constabulary and police would be deployed along the highway, he added.

Besides, he said, checkposts would also be set up on Karakoram Highway.

Mr Malik said that Gilgit airport would be expanded soon and the number of flights would be increased.

Earlier, the minister held separate meetings with religious scholars and listened to their demands. He said that he would revisit the area soon to chalk out a plan with the consultation of ulema for establishment of durable peace.

Meanwhile, thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of the passengers, who were killed by unidentified persons in Kohistan the other day. The prayers were led by Agha Rahatul Hussaini in central Imamia mosque. The bodies were later dispatched to their respective areas including Nagir, Astor and Skardu.

The residents of the area also staged protest demonstration in the mosque and demanded compensation of Rs5 million for relatives of each victim.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah and Governor Syed Pir Karam Ali Shah held a meeting with bosses of law enforcement agencies and asked them to remain vigilant.

They directed the officials to deploy law enforcers on the sensitive points of the town.

The chief minister announced Rs1 million as compensation for relatives of each victim. He also offered employment in government departments to the heirs of the victims.

Gilgit Town remained tense as all markets and shopping centres were closed. Vehicles also remained off road, creating problems for people especially patients, who could not reach hospitals.

People in the administrative headquarters of Diamer also staged a protest against the killings of passengers, demanding of the government to arrest the perpetrators and take them to task.

Meanwhile, police said that a man, who was injured last night in a clash with law enforcement agencies, succumbed to his injuries. He was identified as Naveed. Two officials of Punjab Rangers were also injured in the clash.

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