GILGIT  - Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Saturday that Dr Shakeel Afridi, who aided Americans in operation against Osama bin Laden, can be tried for treason and a decision in this regard will be taken in a day or two.

Malik said Dr Afridi would have informed the Pakistani government or the local police about the information regarding Osama bin Laden.

The minister also said the security agencies arrested five culprits involved in the Kohistan incident, adding that ‘foreign hand’ was involvement in the heinous crime. Malik also stressed the importance of dialogue to solve the deteriorating law and order situation in Gilgit-Baltistan.  After meeting with different delegations in Gilgit, Malik told reporters that a peace Jirga along with the security forces would be reinstated to restore peace in Gilgit areas.

Malik said no one would be allowed to play with the law and order of the region and he was in constant touch with Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister as part of government efforts to restore peace. The minister said that a large-scale operation would be launched by Gilgit-Baltistan scouts against anti-state elements.

However, later he agreed to delay the operation on the request of Gilgit-Baltistan cabinet.  The minister claimed progress in investigation into the Kohistan incident, asserting that the team had tracked down culprits behind the slaughter.

Two weeks ago, at least 18 people were gunned down by unknown assailants in Kohistan after being made to disembark from vehicles going from Gilgit-Baltistan to Rawalpindi. Authorities termed it a sectarian attack. However, the minister rejected attribution of the Kohistan incident to sectarianism.

“The joint investigation team has accomplished its inquiry to unmask the offenders, and we have tracked them down,” the interior minister disclosed.

“Other than few locals, some foreign elements were also found involved in the attack,” Malik asserted, adding that names of the suspects would be handed over to the local jirga for their arrest.

Malik assured that local people would be appointed in the police department of Gilgit-Baltistan.

He announced Rs2 million each for the heirs of Kohistan tragedy victims while one month bonus salary would be given to the security officials. He said special steps would be taken to make the journey safe on Karakoram Highway.

He said the number of PIA flights from Gilgit to Islamabad has also been increased.

Meanwhile, reports said SP Diamer has been suspended over his non-cooperation with the investigation team formulated to probe into Kohistan incident.