Protests against wheat price hike across Pak-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan intensify

POGB protest
Protestors at Skardu (Photo: Social Media)

The skyrocketing wheat price and the new Finance Act 2023 has enraged the people across Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (POGB) to protest. Every corner of the region is agitated against the coerced imposition of unprecedented price hike of about 80%. In the latest development, people from Kundus valley of Khorkondus village carried out a protest rally raising slogans against their representative from Ganche III, Muhammad Ismail a.k.a Engineer Ismail, who is also the finance minister in the puppet government of POGB.

Meanwhile, the protest in Skardu against the puppet government’s decision to increase the price of wheat from Rs. 20 to Rs. 36 entered its 11th day today. Interestingly, this unprecedented hike in prices comes within a year of another hike which was imposed on June 2023. In June 2023, the wheat prices were increased to Rs. 20 from Rs. 12, which means that within a year the wheat prices have gone up from Rs. 12 to Rs. 36, a three-fold increase. So, whether it is indiscriminate hike in the wheat prices or the taxes of the imposition of Finance Act 2023, people of POGB are fed up with Pakistan’s policies which strives to worsen the condition of native Kashmiris.

Multiple protests across the region

During the protest at Shahid Yadgaar Chowk at Skardu, it was stated that if the wheat subsidy is not restored, the highway towards Islamabad will blocked. Furthermore, the slogans of “Gaddar numaainde…Murdabaad” [death to traitor representatives] were also hurled against the representatives of puppet government in Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan (POGB).

Under the occupation of Pakistan, POGB has been suffering exploitation for more than 75 years. Accordingly, Pakistan induced regulations and policies that deprived the people not only from their resources but from their freedom of speech and expression. They were manipulated with a false dream that kept them alienated. But now when Pakistan is trying to attack and snatch their rights to basic amenities, people have started hitting the streets with sloganeering voices.

POGB populace is clearly arguing that Pakistan benefits from their resources and the subsidies and other rights of POGB are no alms but their right. They argue that POGB is a disputed territory and hence, has right to appropriate benefits from the occupying regime as per the UN Charter.

Meanwhile, protest reports also emerge from Yasin and Hunza. In Hunza, the protest has entered its third day while in Yasin, the protestors are sitting in front of the AC office. They are demanding the withdrawal of price hike failing which, they warned, there will be a long march.  

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