Gilgit, February 28: Thousands of people attended a protest demonstration organized by Awami Action Committee today at the historical Garhi Bagh, Gilgit. They demanded restoration of subsidies granted to the Gilgit-Baltsitan in the past on a number of edible items. They also vowed to forge unity among the public to speed up the struggle for the rights of Gilgit-Baltsitan.
Speakers lashed at the federal and provincial governments for “gradually withdrawing” all subsidies provided to the people of constitutionally deprived region. They said that if their demands were not met they will call a wheel-jam strike in all seven districts of Gilgit-Baltistan on the 10th of March.
The event was addressed by a large number of people includign AAC chairman Advocate Ehsan Ali who is also a leader of the Pakistan Worker’s Party. Other speakers included MWM’s General Secretary Sheikh Bilal Sumairi, Jamat-e-Islami’s leader, Maulana Abdul Sami and Muhammad Nawaz of ASWJ.
AAC was formed in reaction to the federal and provincial government’s decision to withdraw subsidy on the price of wheat, granted to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in the Bhutto regime.
Organizers of AAC have been able to gather momentum and the list of their demands has increased substantially over the last few weeks. They are now demanding restoration of the subsidized price of wheat as well as other edible items. They are also demanding of the government to resolve the issue of electricity failure in different parts of the Gilgit-Baltistan region, especially in Gilgit city where people have been receiving as low as two hours of electricity every day.
All major political and religious groups, including Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jamat, MWM, BNF, KNM, Shia Ulema Council, Progressive Youth Front, Pakistan Labour Party, Gilgit Qaumi Movement, PTI, KNM and others participated in the protest demonstration which had been called by the Awami Action Committee (AAC).