Politicians try to delay wheat subsidy dispute in POGB amidst election calculations

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

Amidst the ongoing massive protest of the Awami Action Committee against the abolition of wheat subsidy in Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan (POGB), the POGB council has reached out to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, who also happens to be the Chairman of POGB Council. They have demanded that the earlier price of wheat should be reinstated as the abolition of wheat subsidy has put financial burden over the region, making the condition of native populace worse. However, they have opinionated to defer the increase till February 8 general elections.

The letter also highlighted the unjust wheat price increase from Rs. 7.5/kg to Rs. 36/kg. The council argued that POGB is a far-flung area with no production of wheat. The region is facing massive unemployment and lacks basic amenities. And hence, the people of POGB are incapable of purchasing the costly wheat. Accordingly, the Council has demanded to revisit the wheat policy and defer the increased wheat price till the upcoming elections.

POGB Council letter to the caretaker PM of Pakistan (Photo: Social Media)

The POGB council’s letter comes after it extended support to the ongoing protests against removal of wheat subsidy, abolition of health card, increased taxes among others. While extending the support, POGB council affirmed to submit a summary to the caretaker PM recommending the continuous inflow of subsidized wheat into POGB.

Notably, the serious efforts by the local leaders and the POGB council started only after the strict warning of the protestors, demanding their rights while sitting on the streets of POGB in bone chilling winters, with the temperature as low as -50C.

Sinister interest of political leaders

However, the approach of POGB council which is headed by the PM of Pakistan seems no different than the puppet assembly and its leaders. Each of them is trying to diffuse the escalation of conflict till the upcoming general elections.

At first, POGB Assembly member Fathullah Khan negotiated with the protestors on Monday to end the protest till the upcoming February 8 general election, with a promise of raising the wheat subsidy issue with the newly formed occupying government. To which protestors denied vehemently.  

After the protestors strongly stood their ground, the POGB council, which extended support to the protest and their demands ranging from wheat subsidy to health card, also recommended to the caretaker PM of Pakistan to continue subsidy only till February 8. Simply put, after extending unconditional support and promising to raise the issue, POGB council reached out to the caretaker PM of Pakistan only for the wheat issue and that too to postpone the increase in price till February 8.

It simply means that the only motive of the POGB council and other political leaders is to diffuse the conflict so the question of wheat subsidy could not cast a shadow over the elections. Because if, wheat issue takes central importance, which it will take, the local leaders would neither be able to solve the issue, nor would they be able to show a red eye to their masters in Islamabad.

So there may be a chance that the subsidy is reinstated prior to the general elections, but that would only be to mislead the captivated population of POGB.   

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