Kashmir: ‘Militants’ release GB minister, open roads after negotiations

Jammu & Kashmir POK - Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Militants on Saturday released Gilgit-Baltistan Minister Abaidullah Baig and opened the Babusar Road, which they had blocked a day earlier, after negotiations.

In a video circulating on social media, one of the militants can be heard telling a jirga to ensure that they can see their accomplices who are in jail within two or three days, failing which they “should not expect any mercy from us”.

The militants set up blockades on one of the major arteries linking Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with Gilgit-Baltistan near Chilas on Friday, leaving the senior minister and several tourists stranded.

A voice clip shared on social media purportedly featured Baig as saying that he was on his way from Islamabad to Gilgit when militants blocked the road to press authorities for the release of their accomplices from jail.

Sources said Habibur Rahman, GB’s most wanted militant commander who was accused of killing 10 foreigners in Nanga Parbat, and his accomplices blocked the road in Thak Village of Chilas in Diamer on Friday around 4pm, leaving travellers on both sides stranded.

Sources said the militants were demanding the release of their accomplices, including those involved in the gruesome murder of foreigners in the Nanga Parbat area and other terrorist incidents in Diamer.

Later, an interview said to be that of the GB minister surfaced on social media. In the audio clip, a man could be heard saying that negotiations with the commanders were underway who had two basic demands. “They have sought release of their accomplices from jails and imposition of Islamic laws, with no women sports activities,” he said.

One of the people involved in the negotiations, Faizullah, said today that the militants had kept Baig and his companions in a house for six hours. They were released at 3am after negotiations, he added.

The police had arrested militant Habibur Rehman along with two accomplices in 2013. However, he managed to escape from Gilgit Jail in 2015 along with one of his accomplices. His other accomplice is currently in a prison in Punjab and is awaiting trial in a military court.

Rehman went into hiding after escaping from jail, but on July 7, 2021, he held an ‘open court’ at a ground in Diamer district and was seen giving an interview in a video released on social media. __Dawn.com