Airlift of Tourists from Gilgit in Pakistan
On April 9, officials relaxed the curfew in Gilgit between the hours of 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm, stating that “people would not be allowed to wear jackets or chadar during this time period” (a move designed to prevent suicide bombings). On the same day, opposed protest rallies in the city by the Shia group Majlis Wahdat-i-Muslimeen (MWM) and the Sunni organization Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASJ) almost resulted in open bloodshed, due to “fiery speeches … from both sides with speakers blaming the other party for committing atrocities against people of their side.” The ASJ is now demanding that Gilgit-Baltistan be merged with Pakistan’s Azad Kashmir region, a move that would dilute the power of the region’s Shia (mostly Ismaili) establishment.
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