Gilgit - Baltistan

More protests against “withdrawal” of wheat subsidy across GB

PT Report

Gilgit, February 24: Several opposition parties have decided to mobilize the masses against alleged withdrawal of wheat subsidy in the Gilgit – Baltistan region. According to different sources people in Skardu, Ghizar, Hunza and Diamer are planning to join the protesters of Yasen Valley in condemning the 3 rupees per kilogram hike in price of wheat, which is being considered as the first step towards complete withdrawal of the subsidy granted by Z.A.Bhutto during his first visit of the region, in early seventies.

Protesters passing through Gahkuch on 18th February. Courtesy: Adil Ghias

The people of Yasen, Gupis and Punial had called off their march towards Gilgit after reassurance by regional Taxation minister that the price hike will be annulled through an official notification. The protesters had then threatened to restart the agitation if the promise was not fulfilled. So far the government has failed to honour the promise, resulting in more fury across the region.

Meanwhile, the GB Food Minister, Muhammad Jafar, has been running a campaign in the regional print media, trying hard to clarify that the GB government is facing losses due to the subsidy and the “nominal” price hike does not amount to withdrawal of the wheat subsidy.

The campaign, it appears, had failed to win minds and hearts. More people have raised voices against the price hike and several protest demonstrations have already been held in Dimaer, Skardu and Ghanche.

Influential religio-political leaders Agha Rahatul Hussain and Qazi Nisar have also announced support for the protest demonstrations. The leaders have vowed to stand with the protesters for restoration of the wheat price.

The deadline given to the government by protesters of Yasen, Gupis and Punial expires today.

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