Pakistan restores National Health card, excludes Pak-Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan

Skardu Protest, POGB (Photo: News Intervention)

Pakistan’s discriminatory policies against the people of Pak-Occupied Gilgit Baltistan (POGB) have once again come under scrutiny, particularly regarding the issue of health card. Health cards, a prominent demand of the people of POGB, have been a focal point of protests organized under the Awami Action Committee.

The Health Card, colloquially known as the Sehat Card, is a program by the Pakistani establishment aimed at providing health treatments at government expense. However, these health cards were abolished in POGB and Pakistan-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK), leading to widespread resentment among the population. Consequently, health card restoration became one of the 15 prominent demands raised by the POGB Awami Action Committee in its Charter of Demands.

After months of protests, the puppet government in POGB partially accepted demands such as wheat subsidy restoration and abolishing the Revenue Act 2023. However, crucial demands, including the reinstatement of health card services, were disregarded.

While sehat card facilities have been reinstated throughout Pakistan, POGB remains neglected. For 75 years, Pakistan has exploited POGB and POJK without any moral obligation toward the people. Despite being used as mere territories for exploitation, the region lacks basic amenities and opportunities for socioeconomic development.The denial of health card services is particularly concerning as the region is remote and lacks essential infrastructure. Without access to health cards, the people of POGB face uncertainty and vulnerability, further exacerbating their socio-economic challenges.

It is evident that Pakistan’s agenda in POGB is focused solely on exploitation, with little regard for the welfare and well-being of the local population. By denying essential services like health cards, Pakistan seeks to perpetuate dependence and maintain control over the region, depriving its people of basic rights and dignified livelihoods.

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