A massive demonstration led by the Awami Action Committee and All Party Alliance swept through Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan on December 21, denouncing exorbitant electricity tariffs and burdensome taxes imposed on the populace. Voices echoed a resolute commitment to persist until their Charter of Demands is met, with no intention of conceding ground on their principled stance.
The demonstration witnessed support and participation from all walks of life. A large number of people participated in the protest meeting at Gilgit Diniyar Alamdar Chowk Shahrukh Qaraqram for their rights and against the reduction in wheat subsidy. The protestors stated that until the occupying government of Gilgit-Baltistan withdraws its illegal and cruel decisions, the protests will continue throughout POGB and there will be no talks with the occupying government. They also called for the start of Gilgit Chalo movement as the occupying government did not resolve the public demands presented by the Awami Action Committee of POGB.
Backdrop of protest
Evidently, the protest was organised after a meeting of Awami Action Committee and All Party Alliance held on December 19. Representatives from diverse sectors, spanning political, religious, and business spheres, convened in a joint meeting at a hotel in Skardu, chaired by Ehsan Ali Advocate, Chairman of the Awami Action Committee. The meeting was attended by the various leaders from the Awami Action Committee of Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (POGB). The discourse revolved around the exploitation of regional resources by the occupying Pakistani authorities, leaving the indigenous people bereft of fundamental necessities.
A critical point of contention highlighted during the meeting was the termination of wheat flour subsidies, which is a clear violation of UN regulations safeguarding the rights of the contested territory’s inhabitants. The looming threat of indiscriminate taxes compounded the distress, exacerbating the grievances of the Kashmiris.
In the meeting it was unanimously approved that following the disapproval of the demands by the occupying government on December 20, an expansive protest movement would be initiated across Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan on December 21. The demonstrations involved road blockades and gatherings in various districts, specifically targeting the inflated wheat prices. Moreover, there’s a potential expansion of protests to other regions if the grievances persist unaddressed.
The recent protest is the latest in the strings of protests, sit-ins and demonstrations that have been held by the Awami Action Committee in POGB. However, the Pakistani puppet government has not seriously put up the grievances of the people. Interestingly, the Awami Action Committee also seems committed for its ‘Charter of Demands’.