ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s information minister, Murtaza Solangi, on Sunday denied reports of unrest in the country’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan region after protests by followers of different schools of thought, saying the territory was a “heaven of peace.”
Solangi’s statement came after reports on social media suggested that sectarian tensions were on the rise in the mountainous region, following controversial speeches by Sunni and Shiite clerics and the registration of police complaints against each other.
The reports suggested that the GB administration had requested for army’s deployment to quell the protests, but the administration said on Saturday it had requisitioned troops only to maintain order during Chehlum of Imam Hussain (RA) next week, which marks 40 days since the day of his martyrdom on the 10th of Muharram.
In a post on X messaging platform, Solangi attempted to “set the record straight,” amidst what he called “misleading social media narratives and fake news.”
“The reports of unrest are baseless; no shots were fired, no damage to public and private property did occur,” the minister said.
“The protests are a natural political democratic response to local issues, which were managed peacefully in Gilgit-Baltistan. Gilgit Baltistan remains a heaven of peace and harmony.”
He said schools, colleges, markets and roads were open in the region, displaying a sense of normalcy.
“Peaceful protests do occur at times in reaction to some religious and sectarian concerns but the law and order situation is calm,” Solangi said.
“No Army deployment has taken place and the Pakistan Army is prepared for community protection during the events like Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) in the coming week.”