Seminary students, teachers block Karakoram Highway
By Ibrahim Shahid
GILGIT: Hundreds of students and clerics belonging to various seminaries in Diamer district blocked the Karakoram Highway on Thursday at Thour Nalah to protest the construction of Basha Dam and non-government organisations and proposed a plan for changing the existing curriculum, police sources said on Friday.
They said over 500 students belonging to orthodox Sunni seminaries rallied in Thour Nallah, 200 kilometres south of Gilgit, and blocked the highway for half an hour. Sources said protestors were demanding the withdrawal of projects of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and the United Development Programme (UNDP) in Diamer, which they termed haram (prohibited). They said funds should be used according to their school of thought.
They also chanted slogans against the construction of Basha Dam as Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Zulfiqar Ali Khan arrived at the scene. Protestors argued that a large chunk of Diamer district would be hurt by the construction of Basha Dam because the district is upstream and the dam’s royalties would go to the North West Frontier Province.
Protestors also opposed any proposed changes in the existing education syllabi and chanted slogans in favour of the existing syllabi, sources said.
After police intervention, protestors ended their strike and rally, sources said, adding that Northern Areas Inspector General Sakhiullah Tareen had ordered the deployment of police patrolling teams along the KKH.