Political and youth activists hailing from Gilgit-Baltistan staged a protest rally outside the National Press Club, Islamabad on Friday, seeking justice for a youth who has been murdered in Rawalpindi and recovering a nursing assistant who has gone missing a week ago in Karachi.
The call for the protest was given by Baltistan Youth Alliance and joined by activists of Awami Workers Party-Gilgit-Baltistan and civil society.
The protesters were holding placards inscribed with slogans demanding immediate recovery of Khush Bakhat, a nursing assistant, who has reportedly gone missing on January 4, 2019 and the arrest of Ejaz Ali’s murderers.
They were chanting slogans against the Karachi and Rawalpindi police for their failure in recovering the girl and arresting the killers of the youth.
Some activists, including Shabbir Mayar, Advocate Zulfiqar, Kosar Bano, Farman Ali, and others spoke to the protesters as well as media lamenting the rising crime against the youth of Gilgit-Baltistan, particularly in Rawalpindi and Karachi.
They held the government, law enforcement agencies and the state responsible for such incidents as they are spending billions of the taxpayer’s money on the protocols and security of the ruling elite but have failed to protect the common people.
They were of the view that the majority of the youth from GB migrate to urban centres for education and jobs because of the absence of these facilities in their areas and become vulnerable to street crimes and other social issues.
The speakers were of the view that while the youth of Gilgit-Baltistan are fighting against terrorism in restive districts of Pakistan and on Siachin and Kargil, the Pakistani state has miserably failed to protect the 2 million people of Gilgit-Baltistan and denying them of their fundamental rights’ including the right to life, education, and employment.
They also condemned the Karachi police for failing to recover the girl.
Background of the incident
According to family sources and social media reports, she has been working at Saifee Hospital in North Nazimabad as a nursing assistant.
Last Friday she had left for work in the morning from her home in Ali Jiwani Housing Society and did not return.
The family members launched a search for her when she did not reach home in the night. They approached the hospital management who told them that she did not turn up for work on Friday.
The hospital has refused to share CCTV footage of the day of the incident with the family.
The effort to find whereabouts of Khush Bakht have yielded no result so far.
Women and political activists leaders of Ghizer, and other parts of Gilgit-Baltistan have expressed shock over the sudden disappearance and urged the IG of Police to take notice of the incident and launch an investigation.
According to unconfirmed account by some sources close to Khush Bakht, she had been allegedly harassed by a man working at the same hospital a few weeks ago.
According to the sources, Khush Bakht had told them that the man had harassed other women too at the hospital. She complained to the principal of the hospital’s nursing school about the suspect who was penalised for his misdemeanor. Afterward he used to inquire about the nursing assistant and she was afraid of him and had requested the administration to change her duty timing from evening to morning, which was turned down.
The law enforcement personnel have sought two days to dig out the facts.
The complainants demanded that the suspect and the principal of the school be quizzed to sift information about the missing girl.
The protesters demanded provision of educational facilities and employment opportunities in Gilgit-Baltistan so that the youth could not come to the cities to face such incidents.
Ejaz Ali, a resident of Khomay, Astor District, had gone missing from his hostel in Rawalpindi on January 7. On Thursday, his mutilated body was found dumped in Gujar Khan Tehsil of Rawalpindi.
Ejaz was a student of intermediate second year of a local college.
The college administration had reportedly registered a complaint with the police about the disappearance of the student.
According to reports, the body of Ali had marks of injuries and bruises, suggesting that he may have been tortured to death.
However, the police are clueless about the motive and circumstances in which the young man had been brutally murdered.
Earlier another youth from GB, Jamil, was killed some two weeks back in Rawalpindi.