Islamabad: The Pakistani military on Sunday
evacuated 120 foreign tourists, mostly Japanese nationals, who
were stranded in the northern Gilgit region after sectarian
clashes that killed nearly two dozen people.
The foreigners, including nationals of Norway, China,
Germany, Thailand and Canada, were flown in a C-130 Hercules
transport aircraft from Gilgit town to Chaklala airbase in
Gilgit has been under indefinite curfew since April 3,
when nearly two dozen people were killed and over 50 injured
in clashes between Sunnis and Shias.
The clashes began after gunmen struck during a strike
called by activists of the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a front
for the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba.
Following the attack on the Sunni activists, a mob
blocked the Karakoram Highway and killed several Shias after
pulling them out of buses.
Gilgit is the capital of the Gilgit-Baltistan region and
is popular with mountaineers and tourists.