Here’s an eyewitness account of a miraculous survivor of the Babusar Pass massacre of Shia Musims.
Imtiaz, 22, says there were around 30 to 40 gunmen who attacked the buses on their way from Rawalpindi to Gilgit Baltistan near the Babusar Top. The militants had long hair (a trade mark of Taliban / Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militants, and were wearing military uniforms. They carried ropes, blades and knives. The Taliban-LeJ men surrounded the buses and checked everyone’s national identity cards and asked several people to read the ‘6 Kalmas’ and Dua-e-Qanut, so as to determine whether they were Shiite or Sunnis. It may be recalled that Shiite Muslims have only one Kalma (article of faith) and their Qanut prayer is different than the Sunni version.
The Taliban-LeJ militants appeared to be from Khyber Pukhtoonkhuwa based on their physical appearance and the language (Pashto) they were communicating in. Their long hair made it look like they were women, just like Baitullah Mehsud and other Jihadis long hair trained in Pakistan army’s training camps.
Imtiaz says he survived because during the checking, he hid underneath a bus. After the massacre of Shia Muslims, the terrorists ordered the passengers to chant slogans (Shia Kafir, i.e., Shias are infidels, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Zindabad, Long live LeJ). When the bus, now carrying mostly Sunnis, had travelled about a kilometer and a half, the driver asked Imtiaz if he was alright, then brought him up to sit inside the bus.
Eye witnesses claim there were around 20 to 25 people, all of them Shias, killed, 11 of whom belonged to Astor, 2 belonged to Karachi, 2 belonged to Nagar, 2 to Gujar Khan (Punjab – town of origin of PM Raja Pervez Ashraf) and 1 to Bagrot.
The tyres of the Landcruiser squealed wildly as Gul Khan slammed the brake pedal. My head crashed against the dash board. “Sir, get out of car,” my driver, Khan, 41, shouted frantically. “Please hurry up,” he said as he jumped into a nearby ditch. I followed him. Seconds before jumping into the ditch, I heard the rat-a-tat burst of AK-47s. On the road ahead, four masked men sprayed bullets at a line of over 20 bus passengers. The assailants were masked. They were flanked by a dozen armed men. It was 5.45 am. We were at ‘Thanda Pani’ 180 km east of Gilgit.
The attackers stopped the buses at gunpoint and had segregated the Shiites. They had offloaded their hapless victims from three buses of the Mahfouz Travel Company that plies buses between Rawalpindi near Islamabad and Gilgit, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan province. They checked the identification of their vicitms and then shot them. It took them nearly half hour to do so.
The attackers pushed the dead bodies into a nearby ditch. The attackers, interestingly, did not hurt the other passengers. They shouted at the bus drivers to move on. Another Kalashnikov-toting gunman walked down the line and ordered the other vehicles to start moving. We emerged from the ditch, jumped into our vehicle and drove away as fast as we could.(Source)
Government’s and army’s inaction against terrorists
According to Shia Killing website, on 30 July, the Interior Minister Rehman Malik had warned the Interior Secretary that terrorists might be planning something on the Karakaram Highway. A terrorist named Farooq son of Abdul Jabbar, who belongs to Jagir Man, involved in the Kohistan massacre, was reported to be in contact with other known terrorists of Makar Koi, Jagir Bain and Kashrot. He invited them to Kohistan. An ISI officer communicated this threat in the central mosque Bo Committee’s Chief Secretary’s office about a month ago. However, the local government and the agencies, instead of arresting them and breaking their networks, looked the other way, thus providing the terrorists with more chances to commit even more organized genocide of Shiites. The government has failed to arrest dozens of LeJ-ASWJ terrorists who mobilized a mob to attack and kill Shias. The gruesome details of that massacre are available on Youtube with clear identification of at least some of the LeJ-ASWJ terrorists. In fact the Taliban have once again started to gather around in Chilas and Gilgit, something which Rehman Malik and Mehdi Shah knew and did not act on. Why is the current government not acting up to its responsibilities?
What does the current Municipalty Chairman say? According to him, the massacre of Babusar was not an accident. It was planned and it was a conspiracy. The Interior Ministry had warned the Gilgit Government and provided them with names of the known terrorists but no action was ever taken by the PPP govbernment in Gilgit Baltistan. As a result, dozens of innocent travellers were killed. These concerns were expressed by the current Muncipalty Chairman and the Organizer of Muslim League Mohammed Ilyas. He said the Taliban have set up a network in Zil-e-Diya Mar. The proof of which are the three continous terrorist attacks against Shias in the last few months. But the federal and provincial governments nor Pakistan army took any action against those responsible for Shia genocide, just gave names and arrested a couple of innocent people.
Source: Adapted and edited from Pak Shia
Analysis by Mushtaq Minhas and Nusrat Javed: Bolta Pakistan