GILGIT – In an unprecedented move, chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and his cabinet on Tuesday decided to stage a sit-in at G-B’s Diamer district – that shares boundary with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) – to protest against K-P government’s ‘excesses’.
Chief minister Hafeezur Rehman, ministers and his advisors will move early in the morning and reach Basari area in Diamer by afternoon, covering a distance of over 200 kilometers from Gilgit.
The decision comes days after people in G-B’s Diamer valley staged protest demonstrations accusing K-P government of levying illegal taxes on timber and dry fruit transported to rest of the country via Kohistan district. The protestors were also calling for reversal of a decision made reportedly by a court in K-P declaring Khanbari valley forests K-P residents property.
“Everything is finalised and we will move to Diamer valley early in the morning,” said advisor to chief minister Shams Mir on Tuesday as he shared government’s sit-in plan.
In his speech on the floor of assembly a day earlier, chief minister threw his government support behind the protestors terming the tax a “batha” accusing his counterpart in K-P of being behind the act. He said earlier the issue was settled after talks with former K-P government but the existing chief minister of K-P unilaterally withdrew the decision.
Explaining details of the K-P court, Rehman said he came to know recently that an official of forest department represented G-B in K-P court without any permission and bringing it to the knowledge of the authorities in G-B. Rehman said they would find out who the official was and take action against him.
The government decision to hold the protest has triggered panic in the region for security reasons.