BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GILGIT: The kidnapping of two officials in Darel valley has sandwiched general public between armed forces and the terrorists in district Diamer of Gilgit - Baltistan.
The law enforcing agencies, including army, have launched a massive manhunt in Darel and Tangir valleys bringing life to a standstill. The operation was launched after Engineer Essa Baig and technician Amjad Hussain, the two civilian officials at special communication organization [SCO], were abducted earlier this month.
The officials were busy in fixing a fault at a tower in Darel valley when at least 10 armed men stormed the tower and took them away on gun point. They left the third man - a watchman - behind tying him to the tower, who later managed to reach a police station to report the incident.
The terrorists, believed to be members of a banned outfit, picked the officials to bargain release of four men arrested for the massacre of 10 foreigners at Nanga Parbat two years back. The demands were communicated to the elected members of Diamer and relatives of the abductees last week by phone.
While the officials are yet to be recovered, the government has mounted pressure on the Jirga to help produce the abductees. Meanwhile massive search operation by police is underway in the valleys, raiding houses and arresting suspects. On the other hand, the terrorists have attacked police twice in Diamer.
“The government is asking us to ensure help terrorists surrender,” said Abdul Haleem, a leading cleric who heads Jirga in Darel.
“We will cooperate fully but they [terrorists] aren’t at our payroll to accept our orders,” Haleem told a Jirga that was also attended by nearly 15000 people in the valley on Monday.
The Jirga was convened three days ahead of expiry of an ultimatum given by the force commander Major general Asim Munir to produce the kidnapped officials during a visit to the valley on Wednesday.
Chief minister Hafeezur Rahman also accompanied the force commander who met the Jirga and asked them to help produce the officials or be ready to face the music.
“If anything happened to the officials, the people in the valley will be made internally displaced persons or IDPs,” force commander was quoted as saying by regional Urdu newspapers.
“We have dealt effectively with people like Molvi Fazullah in Swat, so we can deal with the terrorist here too,” said the force commander, asking people to refrain from sheltering the terrorists.
Abdul Wakeel, a minister in the G-B government said people in Diamer are with the army and will cooperate in getting the officials recovered.
Meanwhile district administration has vacated government school buildings in Darel and Tangir valleys to be used by armed forces who are bracing for a massive operation on Wednesday to recover the kidnapped officials. ###