The protesters blamed the security forces for misusing the Anti-Terrorism Act against the activists and the residents….reports Asian Lite News
Residents launched a protest against the local administration in the Skardu district of Gilgit Baltistan over the arrest of Shabbir Mayyar, a prominent activist who was demanding the opening of Skardu-Kargil Road.
The occupied region has long been grappling with severe crises such as high inflation and shortage of commodities, and people have been demanding the resumption of trade with India.
The protesters blamed the security forces for misusing the Anti-Terrorism Act against the activists and the residents.
The protesters said they believed that the Islamabad-backed local administration in Gilgit Baltistan is against their reasonable demand for the opening of the Skardu-Kargil road and have been arresting those who speak up in their favour.
A local leader from the Awami Action Committee addressed a public gathering, demanding the immediate release of Shabbir Mayyar.
“He (Shabbir Mayyar) is the voice of Gilgit-Baltistan. He should be released immediately. The only crime Shabbir Mayar committed was that he raised a slogan, ‘ Aar par Jod do, Kargil border khol do ‘ (Remove barricades from the Kargil border and let the people commute). Whoever speaks of the Kargil border is threatened and punished by them,” he said.
The arrest of Shabbir Mayyar and many other activists has triggered widespread unrest among locals.
Another local activist said, “Our community is not afraid of anyone. Rather than listening to the public, they (the administration) are arresting the poor. They think that by arresting poor people, they can scare us. No, we aren’t afraid. We are here to prove them wrong. Through this platform, I announce that we are all with Shabbir Mayar. Unless they are released, we will stand by them.”
It is believed that the Anti-Terrorism Act, which was introduced to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of terror to justice, has gradually become a tool of extrajudicial killing and repression in Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. (ANI)