Protest in Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan (POGB) has intensified against the removal of wheat subsidy and imposition of taxes through newly crafted Finance Act 2023. The protest has become expansive and is observed in every corner of the region. During one such protest in Khurming, Chairman of Gilgit Baltistan United Movement, Shabbir Mayar lambasted the local leaders and elected representatives for their silence over the protests and removal of subsidy.
Shabbir Mayar stated that those representatives who are sceptic to participate in the public protest because of their political interests, will be considered as traitors. He said, “About 10-12 people have contested the elections but when the morsel is being snatched from the mouths of people, some are not participating because of the fear of District Commissioner, Commissioner while some refrain because they fear that their chances of going to Assembly will be compromised.” He went on to say that all these people are traitors. Moreover, Mayar said, “Those leaders who got votes of the people and do not participate in the protest for the protection of rights of people will be considered as people’s offender and from now on the slogans will be raised against them.”
Protest with no support from local leaders
The stern warning of GBUM chief is sufficient to understand the intensity of control that Pakistan and its puppet government hold. Despite thousands of people protesting, no people’s representative can gather courage to unify their voice with the people who chose them. They know that if they do so, Pakistan and its puppet government in POGB will take coercive actions rendering them ineligible for future Assembly elections.
This also highlights the precarious condition of protestors whose voice goes unheard despite huge participation. Neither the Pakistani establishment nor the puppet government is extending them the support. Even the local candidates are not trying to stand behind the protestors. Amidst all this, the general pubic is left with its own organization viz, Awami Action Committee and Gilgit Baltistan United Movement (GBUM) among others.