Washington: The United States has issued a travel advisory for its citizens asking them to remain vigilant and practice caution in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) amid violent protests in the region.

The US Embassy and Consulates in Pakistan in its advisory has asserted that due to recent protests in Skardu and Diamer regions, there are chances that large gatherings may become violent.

"American citizens should exercise heightened caution in Gilgit-Baltistan due to recent protests in Skardu and Diamer and the potential for additional demonstrations, road closures, and associated disruptions to local mobile and internet networks in the region," the US advisory read.

"Even large gatherings intended to be peaceful may become violent with little or no warning," it added.

The US Embassy in Pakistan has "strongly" urged its citizens to avoid large gatherings and monitor local media reports.

"The US Embassy strongly encourages US citizens to avoid large gatherings, monitor local media reports, and remain vigilant of their surroundings at all times," the advisory said.

The law and order situation in Gilgit-Baltistan has worsened after protests that started in Chilas (Diamer) expanded to other areas of the region. Additionally, protests were organised in the area of Upper Kohistan.

Sheikh Baqir Al-Hussaini, a prominent Islamic expert living in Skardu, is reported to have sparked protests with his sacrilegious comments. He has been charged with making disparaging statements about religious and historical figures, as reported by Pamir Times.

Demonstrators want the academic to be detained and a complaint will be lodged against him. They have vowed to keep the roads blacked till the scholar is arrested.

The poor economic conditions and the absence of good educational institutions have led to a mushrooming of madrasas that preach sectarian hatred and extremism in the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

The region has been a victim of the divide-and-rule tactic of the Pakistani establishment. All these issues have had a cumulative effect in promoting sectarian violence in the region.

Fear and dread have spread throughout the region as a result of the recent event and the irrational protest demonstrations, which have a sordid history of sectarian conflict that has claimed hundreds of lives.