Gilgit-Baltistan: The protests in Gilgit-Baltistan have become intense. People are demonstrating against inflation and the elimination of the wheat subsidy.
Defying frigid weather, protesters are marching and turning up the heat on the administration. On the call of the political and social group, Awami Action Committee, protests against the increase in wheat prices and inflation are going on in different districts of Gilgit-Baltistan.
On January 27, the Committee announced a transport wheel jam in 10 districts. Stores, marketplaces, and eateries were closed in several locations including Skardu, Diamer, Ghizer, Astore, Shigar, Ghanche, Kharmang, and Hunza.
The Awami Action Committee has announced that a complete shutter-down strike would continue until their demands are met by the Gilgit-Baltistan government. “Until our issues are not resolved by the government of Gilgit-Baltistan, the Awami Action Committee will continue protests in Gilgit-Baltistan”, said Kusar Hassan, Transport President.
The majority of demonstrators in Gilgit-Baltistan assert that while they did not intend to escalate their protests, doing so was their only remaining option for persuading the authorities.
“You can see that protests are going on throughout Gilgit-Baltistan. The government did not respond to the initial demonstrations, so we were forced to take harsh steps like the announcement of a shutter down and the Chalo Chalo Gilgit Chalo movement, otherwise, there was no need for that. Had the government given importance to what we had been saying, then we would not have taken this step. We were forced to take this step because of the government’s negligence” said, protester Abrar Hussain.
People from all walks of life are supporting the public cause in Gilgit-Baltistan. Recently the Contractors Association started a protest in response to its ten demands. However, the repressive government displayed its ruthlessness by assaulting the association’s protesters.
After the clash, the Contractors Association held a press conference and expressed its grave concerns. “The first question is why did this protest arise. This happened because Gilgit-Baltistan’s emergency funds of Rs 300 crores are missing. Not a single contractor got any amount, where did the money go?” said Firdous Khan, President of Contractors Association.
Criticizing Islamabad-imposed Finance Secretary Aziz Ahmad Jamali, the Contractors Association claimed that Jamali wants to make Gilgit-Baltistan the new Balochistan by oppressing the people. The Association demanded the suspension of the police officials who were involved in the clash.
(With inputs from ANI)