Pakistan’s murder: Aftermath of Nanga Parbat massacre

Published: June 25, 2013
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Let us hope that this time around the security forces will capture the perpetrators, not just because the victims were foreigners, but because the government owes this right of safety to the people of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP

Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), a thinly populated area in the northern parts of Pakistan, is solely dependent upon tourism and agriculture for its sustenance. Commonly known as the mountaineers’ paradise on earth, it is safe to assume that the world’s top mountaineers and trekkers know this region better than most Pakistanis do, since a majority of the Pakistanis do not know a lot about G-B, other than that this land hosts five of the world’s tallest 14 peaks, which are above 8,000 metres.

Last week, G-B was in the media spotlight as 10 foreign climbers and their Pakistani guide were killed by militants on the base camp of Nanga Parbat — the ninth highest peak in the world. This news gained the attention of the media because the victims of this ill-fated attack were foreigners from six different nations.

Everyone was shocked by this brutality. But it was not the first such incident for the people of G-B who have witnessed such ruthless killings before, but especially so, in the last two years. As expected, the suspected killers are known to be from Chilas, an important area that lies between Islamabad and Gilgit city. Today, Pakistanis hang their heads in shame as they have sent back the bodies of the foreign tourists. It is Pakistan’s murder; it is the murder of the tourism industry of G-B.

This incident will haunt G-B for a long time to come as it has badly shattered the confidence of climbers who came to this region every year and fuelled its tourism industry. In the absence of any heavy industry, the hardworking people of this area mostly dependent either on tourism or agriculture-related work.

This is the same area where innocent people, belonging to minority sects, were brutally killed after their bus was stopped and checked for their national identity cards.

If the government took serious notice of those attacks and arrested the criminal gangs hiding in Chilas, incidents such as the Nanga Parbat killings could be avoided. Let us hope that this time around the security forces will capture the perpetrators, not just because the victims were foreigners, but because the government owes this right of safety to the people of Pakistan.

Read more by Farhan here.

Farhan Zaheer

Farhan Zaheer

A reporter on the business desk of The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.