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Protest continues in Ghizer against abduction of shepherds

GILGIT: A large number of residents of Phandar valley of Ghizer district continued their protest sit-in on Friday against abduction of four shepherds from Handarap pasture allegedly by armed men from neighbouring Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The sit-in staged in the Phandar bazaar kept the main road blocked for vehicular traffic.

Meanwhile, civil society and political activists organised separate protest demonstrations outside the Gilgit Press Club and the chief secretary`s office against the incident.

The protesters were chanting slogans demanding action for the release of abducted shepherds. They alleged that a group of armed people belonging to Kohistan district entered a pasture in Handarap valley of Ghizer, and abducted four local shepherds identified as Akram, Ali Sher, Amir Wali and Alamgir.

They said armed men were supported by Afreen Malik, aninfluentialperson belonging toKomila tehsilof Kohistan.

Speaking to the protesters in Phandar, PPP district president Khan Akbar Khan, PTI`s Attaul Rehman and others said the abductors had been demanding land in the disputed territory. They said outsiders had also abducted people and their livestock in the past.

The protesters demanded strict action against the culprits and said GB government had no interest to protect the people living on the border with KP.

Azhar Ali, a protester from Handarap, said there was a sense of insecurity among Ghizer residents as no police checkpost existed in areas close to KP.

The protesters threatened that if the shepherds were not set free within three days, a long march would be started from Phandar.

According to of ficial sources, an FIR has been registered in Phandar police station against Afreen Malik and 26 others for abduction of four shepherds.-Correspondent