Published:  06:28 PM, 09 July 2024

Locals protest military operation in Darel, accuse Pakistan of resource exploitation

Locals protest military operation in Darel, accuse Pakistan of resource exploitation
The residents in the Darel region of Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan (PoGB) are expressing their opposition to a recent military operation and the killing of a local allegedly involved in a terror incident.

Shah Faisal masterminded the bus attack on the Karakoram Highway that claimed the lives of nine passengers, according to Pakistani media. However, locals claim that these terrorists were earlier supported by the same army now involved in a military operation, which has created fear among the residents.

A protest was held outside the Gilgit Press Club where demonstrators argued that the operation was not solely about ensuring security or addressing local issues but was primarily driven by a desire to control valuable minerals in the area, thereby disturbing the region's peace.
In a video shared on social media, a man surrounded by others holding placards expressed strong dissatisfaction over the military operation that resulted in the death of an alleged terrorist commander.

The man in the video said, "These military operations are harming us without any benefits. Instead of peacefully apprehending criminals, the army resorted to gunfire. You (Pakistan) intend to disrupt our peaceful region. We simply want to live in peace. It is you (Pakistan) who seek to create chaos, fueled by dollars from America to conduct bombardments similar to those in Balochistan and FATA. Your focus is on our resources. People will unite against this oppression, and oppressed people will stand in solidarity with us."

The man further remarked, "You have forcibly divided us along sectarian and tribal lines and occupied us for 75 years. We will liberate ourselves from this. You seek to brand us as terrorists to obtain money from America under the pretext of counter-terrorism."

Shah Faisal, identified as a terrorist commander, was killed in an intelligence-led security operation in Gilgit-Baltistan's Darel district, Dawn reported.
His associate Zahidullah was injured in the operation, which involved prolonged gunfire and escalated tensions in the district. Shah Faisal was reportedly responsible for a bus attack in Chilas last December, resulting in the deaths of eight people and injuring 18 others.

Pakistan recently launched "Operation Azm-i-Istehkam" in response to escalating terrorist activities. Despite previous operations, persistent terrorist threats continue to challenge Pakistan's security, casting doubt on the operation's effectiveness.

Additionally, Pakistan's military operations frequently face allegations of human rights abuses, including excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, disappearances, and mistreatment of civilians in conflict zones such as Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and areas affected by insurgency.
These allegations are often documented by human rights organisations and international observers, prompting concerns about the protection of civil liberties and adherence to international humanitarian law. 

>> Source: ANI

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