The North Area Transport Company (NATCO) has found itself mired in an economic crisis that has triggered significant unrest and protests among its employees. The root cause of the turmoil lies in NATCO’s failure to address the pressing salary issues of its workforce, resulting in a series of protests and the shutdown of its offices.
Employees of NATCO, a crucial transport service provider in the region, have been plagued by salary-related grievances for an extended period. Unable to withstand the financial strain any longer, they decided to take matters into their own hands. As a consequence, NATCO’s employees initiated a collective protest, withholding their services and causing disruptions in the essential transportation services the company offers.
GBUM extends support
Shabbir Mayar, representing the Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement (GBUM), joined the chorus of discontent by participating in the sit-in protest. The GBUM’s involvement highlights the broader societal concern over the non-payment of NATCO employees’ salaries for several months, the absence of necessary alliances, and a shortfall in their insurance coverage.
The situation escalated further when Rahmatullah, President of the Contractor Association in Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan, squarely placed blame on the Chief Secretary for the mounting problems in the region. Moreover, Rahmatullah called for the immediate removal of the Chief Secretary, holding him responsible for the current crisis. His statement was made during his address to the sit-in organized by NATCO employees.
The NATCO crisis has, without a doubt, cast a pall over POGB, leaving its employees in dire straits and disrupting essential transportation services. Unfortunately, neither Pakistan nor its subordinate occupying government has taken concrete measures to address the concerns of these employees. The negligence of Pakistan underscores its intention of exploiting the region and keeping it deprived of even the basic of amenities. It also highlights the repercussions of the illegal occupation of the region by Pakistan.