Armed militants kidnap four people in GB’s remote Phander valley
Gilgit (TP) July 17: Armed militants stormed a gazing land in the remote Phander valley in Ghizer district in Gilgit-Baltistan on Tuesday and kidnapped four people at gunpoint and took them to Kohistan through the Ambej Nalla near Handarap.
Local sources told The Punch that at least 30 armed militants, said to be men of Malik Afreen, a resident of Kohistan and the brother of a lawmaker of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, stormed the pasture and kidnapped eight shepherds who were herding cows and goats.
Four of the kidnapped escaped from their custody while they were being taken to Kohistan and immediately informed the local police about the kidnapping incident.
The locals said that though the police have registered a kidnapping case, they have not mobilized the force to recover the abducted persons, whose whereabouts were still unknown.
According to sources, Afreen lays claim on the whole Ambej Nalla — a grazing land linking the Handarap valley and Kohistan — and continuously asks the people of Phander valley to hand over him the whole meadow.
According to them, Afreen has also filed a case in the sessions court Ghakuch, the headquarters of Ghizer district, and the hearing on his plea was set to be started on August 1.
Local journalist Fida Ali Shah Ghizri told The Punch that people from across Ghizer district have announced to converge on the Handarap valley on Wednesday to thrash out a future course of action if the Ghizer police and the local administration failed to recover the kidnapped men.
He said that Afreen makes armed forays on the Handarap valley now and then, laying claim on the Ambej Nalla and other grazing lands even though he has no documents or proofs to substantiate his claim on the territory. Ghizri said that GB Minister for Tourism Fida Khan and Chief Minister’s Adviser Ghulam Muhammad have brought the issue to the notice of the FCN commander in Gilgit, but no force mobilization has been made to rescue the kidnapped people. Ghizri said that the locals had asked GB police chief, the chief secretary and the Ghizer SP to deploy force on the border to stop the incursion and intrusion by Afreen and his men but they failed to post out the force.
He said that the local people were very charged after the kidnapping incident and they may proceed towards Kohistan to retrieve their kidnapped fellows on their own, as the Ghizer police have failed to mobilize the force to recover the missing persons. He feared that there was a risk of an armed clash between the people of Ghizer district and Kohistan if the police and the army did not intervene in the matter.