The Naltar Incident recently try to disturb the Gilgit Baltistan historic peace. It has always been a tradition of acceptance and protection by strengthening love and brotherhood. For instance, looking back, we often heard that leaving on the mighty Karakoram National Highway (KKH) is insecure. Still, in the past, the people of Darel and Tangair have never attacked innocent travelers through the KKH, either locals or other regions of down cities Pakistan. Whenever someone attacked from outside, the people of Chilas would protect and shelter them.
The Naltar Incident
On 26th March 2021, 6 individuals, including a woman murdered by attackers, opened fire on a passenger jeep traveling from Gilgit to Naltar. Following the incident, the GB government announced a ‘red alert’ as Shia-Sunni stiffnesses intensify. The concerns of the GB government are right because when we see the past, ‘Shia-Sunni” rivalries happened that took tens of lives in the region. The special incident may intensify, which needs to be curb. That is what the GB Government did.
But, the question is there always that why there is a sectarian conflict always rising in GB. Is it because of the involvement of strategic players because of the pivotal importance of GB, or is there a real sectarian rivalry on the ground? All these questions need to be answered for a peaceful environment.
Unfortunately, you could say that this is part of the region also remain part of the historic Great Game. It now may be called the New Great Game or any other game or planning that we are talking about. Initially, the British, then the Maharajas, and now the state itself is unsuccessful in protecting our precious lives. They have all done so much injustice to us in our way of life. They all joined in a conspiracy to pollute the peace of the Gilgit Baltistan region always from the very beginning.
In particular, they all pushed sectarian divisions up to the point where the local people became so suspicious that they began to cut each other’s throats if the state continues to hide its eyes to keep the people of Gilgit Baltistan away from their basic rights by creating conditions and such an environment where the local people can not give attention to their constitutional rights, rationale politics, or future horizon rather than a disaster for the government and people of Gilgit Baltistan and as a whole the state itself.
Past follows you
The current era has never been experienced by Gilgit Baltistan before, whether the narrative of its geostrategic location or it is talking about political appreciation among the youth. Perhaps in this situation, if Gilgit Baltistan returns to those days of sectarianism like what happened in the 1980s, it would be an injustice that leads to great chaos. The consequences of which will have to be paid not only by them but also by the state.
The youth of Gilgit Baltistan are now more awaken and informed like never before. From Diamer to Ghanche, Shia, Sunni, Ismaili, Noorbaqshi all need peace like everyone else, and they all tried to remain in peace and harmony for decades. Today, they need space for progressive thoughts, which have been curbed by authorities now and then. If the state is responsible for nurturing a rational environment where people live shoulder to shoulder in peace and harmony, the region is more inclined. Otherwise, the separatist movements gain more control over the people, and the consequences are far more dangerous than you believe.
The incidents like what happened in Naltar to the passenger van are seriously alarming to taken into account. Its the responsibility of the state to find out the culprits they had done in an investigative way. Hats off to the local administration. But the proper planning to prevent such criminal acts in the future requires a systematic system to curb sectarian violence from the root. We shouldn’t allow the hatred to grow from the beginning.