Scores of people residing in Gilgit-Baltistan launched a protest on the streets of Ghizer town on Sunday, denouncing the flagrant violation of Anti-Terrorism Act by Islamabad.
It is believed that this act, which was introduced to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of terror to justice, has gradually become a tool of extrajudicial killing and repression.
Local leaders residing in the region are blaming Islamabad for orchestrating similar circumstances to what it has done previously in Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).
Speaking to ANI, one of the nationalist leaders, Ghizer said that the Islamabad forces are deliberately slapping Anti- Terrorism Act against the innocent civilians in order to satisfy their personal egos. The leader also said that they are making all efforts to seek rights within the limits of law and order.
"You all know that who have been placed under schedule IV. Someone is a teacher, other is a businessman. We are peace-loving people. They have slapped the Anti- Terrorism Act against just to satisfy their personal ego. This is not justice, this is an atrocity. We want to live in peace. We want to do our work peacefully. We are seeking our rights within the limits of law and order. If an establishment doesn't want this then we'll be forced to choose a different path," said Ghizer.
"If laws will continue to be misused like this then Gilgit Baltistan will also see what Balochistan and FATA are going through. If this continues and the unlawful step is not taken back then, let me remind you, especially the military commander, establishment, and administration that if they fail to stop this spate of violence, it will have severe consequences and will rise, and there will; also come a day when you will plead and we will not listen," he added.
Ghizer further said that the Pakistan army and spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been systematically targeting the political activists, traders and other intellectuals as it deems them a potential threat to their suppressive rule.
Venting anger over the Islamabad for providing safe haven to terrorists, another national leader Shafqat Inqlabi said, "Answer me as to which explosion had taken place. How many people have lost their lives due to the struggle of Yawar Ali, How many have become terrorists because of Noor Akbar Doha's teaching in school? Which school of Inayat Tabdir is a terrorist headquarters? Which terrorist organisation does Engineer Manzoor Parwana is a member of? Which terrorist organisation does Agha Ali Rizwi associated with? What kind of terrorist is Shabir Mayar? Which terror act was Yawar Abbas involved in? You have designed schedule IV to instill a sense of fear in us."
"The residents in Gilgit Baltistan have issued an ultimatum to the government stating they will use an alternate path of protest if further atrocities were meted out on them," he concluded.