ANI Photo | Pak Minister Baig’s abduction reflects growing resurgence of Taliban in Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit Baltistan [PoK], October 8 (ANI): Incidents of the growing influence of the Taliban in the occupied Gilgit-Baltistan region are increasing on daily basis with the law enforcement failing to control the law and order situation while Taliban continues to enjoy a stronghold in the region.
The kidnapping of a senior Pakistani minister from Gilgit Baltistan is a reminder of the same. Abaid Ullah Baig, a minister from the Gilgit Baltistan region was travelling from Islamabad to Gilgit city when he was abducted by militants headed by Taliban commander Habibur Rehman.
The kidnapping took place near Babusar Top which is a mountain pass connecting the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with the country’s north. The leader of the militants Rehman is a prime accused in the Nanga Parbat base camp attack.
The 2013 Nanga Parbat massacre was a terrorist attack that took place on the night of 22 June 2013 in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. About 16 militants, reportedly dressed in Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts uniforms, stormed a high-altitude mountaineering base camp and killed 11 people; 10 climbers and one local tourist guide.
Rehman was arrested in the case but he managed to flee in March 2015 after a jailbreak in Gilgit.
In the latest incident of the abduction of a Pakistan minister in the Cabinet holding the Ministry of Finance, Industries, Commerce and Labour the militants had blocked the road and left tourists stranded for hours.
The senior minister belongs to the PTI party. Arab News reported quoting a Jirga member that the militants belonged to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, also known as the Pakistani Taliban.
However, Baig was set free after negotiations with militants, a top government official said on Saturday, adding the talks were facilitated by local clerics.
“He [Baig] is back. And road [is] open,” Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Secretary Mohyuddin Ahmad Wani told Arab News and added that the minister was set free after “successful” negotiations through local ulemas.

“The minister has been released at around 3 am today as a result of successful negotiations,” Muhammad Alamgir, station house officer (SHO) of Jal area in Diamer district told Arab News.
“A local jirga comprising clerics and officials negotiated with the militant group.”
Alamgir said the road was blocked at 2 pm on Friday by a group of protesters, led by militant commander Habibur Rehman. “They blocked the road and held the minister, Col (retired) Abaidullah Baig, hostage,” he said.
“Their main demand was the release of incarcerated prisoners from the Minawar Jail, Gilgit.”
Moreover, Faizullah Faraq, a former minister and member of the jirga that negotiated with militants, said they had kept the minister in a room and wanted him to use his influence to pressurize the government.
“They thought their demands will be met, if they keep the minister for a longtime,” Faraq told Arab News. Ziaullah Thakvi, another Jirga member, said around 200 militants, mostly from outside Diamer district, had blocked the road, which left tourists from European countries among others stranded.
“Locals kept the foreigners at their homes and were all safely taken out later,” he told Arab News.
The Jirga member Ziaullah Thakvi quoted a militant commander for GB, Abdul Hameed, as telling the clerics, “We are leaving the area for ten days but if the process to meet our demands did not begin, then do not come in front of us next time.”
A TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khorasani was not reachable for comment. Gilgit Baltistan’s chief secretary said it was a “local group” of militants.
Media portal Minute Mirror while quoting police sources said that one of the other demands that the militants made was the adherence to Shariah principles by prohibiting women from participating in sports. (ANI)

This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.

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