iconimg Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Press Trust Of India
Washington, August 17, 2012
A day after the killing of 21 Shias by militants, an organisation representing the people of Gilgit Baltistan has asked the United States and the United Nations to put pressure on Pakistan to open the trade routes with Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Laddakh.

"United Nations and USA are requested to pressure Pakistan to open travel and trade routes towards Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Indian Ladakh so that Shias are not forced to travel on the roads that have become killing fields and virtually controlled by ISI-led militants like Lashkar Toaiba, Lashkar Jhangvi and Sipah Sihaba," Washington based Gilgit Baltistan National Congress (GBNC) said in a statement on Friday.

Alleging that Shias and other religious minorities are being prosecuted in Pakistan, the Gilgit Baltistan National Congress in its statement demanded that the state department grant a CPC (country of particular concern) status to Pakistan and impose restrictions on activities of Pakistani secret service agencies and their militant allies.

"It is feared that Shia killings will continue until the strategic region of Gilgit Baltistan has a Shia majority population.

"The region connects Pakistan with China and Central Asia and intelligence agencies see Shia majority as a threat to their control over this strategic corridor," GBNC alleged.

GBNC alleged that similar attacks by pro-Pak militants on Shia majority populations in the strategic valley of Parachinar have forced tens of thousands of Shias to abandon their homes, there by converting Parachinar into a Sunni region.

"Parachinar provides direct access to Pakistani troops to Ghazni, Gardez and central Afghanistan. It is feared that similar strategies are being implemented in Quetta, which neighbors Kandahar and Helmand provinces of Afghanistan, and where Hazaras make up almost one-third of capital's population," the statement alleged.

Yesterday, suspected militants have pulled out 25 Shia Muslims from three buses and shot them dead in northern Pakistan, the third such sectarian attack in the restive region in six months.

The gunmen stopped the buses in Naran Valley of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and asked the people to get out of the vehicles, witnesses told TV news channels.

The buses were going from the garrison city of Rawalpindi to Astore in Gilgit-Baltistan, which has a sizeable Shia population.