Pak-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan: Awami Action Committee to escalate wheat protest

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Protest in POGB
Protests In Pak-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (Photo: Social Media)

Awami Action Committee in Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan (POGB) is completing its one-month agitation on January 26, which it started over the abolition of wheat subsidy by the Pakistani regime. Now the committee has confirmed that its protest will continue and would actually intensify with the upcoming Plan B. In just a month the protest took the form of a movement which saw participations from not only the non-government organisations but also the common people including women and children. It is of immense significance to note that these protests endured the chilling winters with a temperature as low as -50 C. Despite this bone chilling season, the protestors’ determination remained undeterred.

Unfortunately, this struggle for the rights and basic amenities by the people was completely ignored by the occupying government and Islamabad. In fact, it was on the orders of Islamabad that this wheat subsidy along with health cards was abolished. To the worse,  a new Finance Act 2023 was introduced to impose irrationally increased taxes over the people of POGB. In one month, the protestors used every platform to call for the solution of their problems, failing which, they warned, strong initiative would be taken.

But since Pakistan ignored the calls considering them to be hollow rhetoric, the populace of POGB had no option but to intensify the protests. In line with that, a convoy of tens of thousands of people  with vehicles from Nagar started a long march to Gilgit, the visuals of which are thought provoking. In its 76 years of captivity history, Gilgit Baltistan has never saw such a huge number of people coming out of their house in chilling winters to get their righteous heard.

Awami Action Committee preparing Plan B

While the long march from Nagar is reaching Gilgit headquarters, the Awami Action Committee has extended full support to the long march and explained its further course of action. Talking about the first increase in wheat price in 2023, the leaders of Awami Action Committee have referred to the decision as equivalent to dropping the bomb over the innocent people.

Nonetheless, as per the current program, the protest from the Gilgit division, Ashtore and Diamer would reach Gilgit while the four districts of Baltistan region namely, Shigar, Kharmang, Ghanche and Skardu will reach Skardu headquarters. Accordingly, the committee is in contact with its coordinators in every district and other stakeholders like transporters association. Moreover, the committee has reaffirmed its decision of holding a complete shutdown on January 26th and 27th and stated that after the shutdown, a comprehensive Plan B for further action would be declared with a proper charter.

Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan (POGB) which is under the illegal occupation of Pakistan has been grappling with the existential challenges. While Pakistan always propagated that they are free, their condition be it political or financial, has only deteriorated. In the age of social media, when the information transcends the border with unadulterated accuracy, people of POGB have came to know that they have only been plundered on the pretext of freedom, while they still live in captivity where their righteous demands are not even addressed.  

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