The five-day protest by locals in Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan in northern Pakistan has intensified and the valley is now completely locked down.
Protesters, who have been protesting for five days, blocked all routes to Hunza Valley on Tuesday night and more than 200 vehicles were stranded at Nasirabad by nightfall.
Locals have been protesting for five days over a dispute over the lease of marble to a non-local company, in which vehicles were partially allowed to enter. Hunza Valley has been locked down.
Why are locals protesting?
This has been going on for the last 18 years. The lease, owned by locals, has been leased to a Karachi contractor after tampering and the locals have been given a partial transit, but at present, 3,000 tonnes of stone is not allowed to be carried. Roads are closed in protest.
We are tired and are now on the streets, the local administration is not solving this problem. It is owned by 800 families and has been leased to a non-local contractor by tampering with their lease. Elders and women are also participating in our protest.
We protested for five days but no one listened to us. Now we are forced to block the roads. All we can do is provide our facilities to women, children and elderly tourists. We will shelter them in our homes. We are not harassing the tourists but we will continue our protest till a permanent solution is found.
What is the official position?
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner’s Office Hunza said that the matter was being discussed and a solution would be found soon. The Deputy Commissioner’s Office declined to go into details.
According to the DC office, “traffic is being diverted from Karakoram Highway to Nagar and a traffic plan has been drawn up.”
On the other hand, Gilgit-Baltistan government sources told Urdu News that “negotiations with the protesters have been successful and their demands have been accepted, but even after acknowledging the demands two months ago, they were not implemented due to which The protest was not called off.
He said that in the next few days, the locals will get permission from the Department of Minerals to carry the marble, while the commission set up by the Chief Minister on the whole issue has also sent its report.
f this report is implemented, the dispute will be settled permanently.