Anti-govt protests continue in Gilgit-Baltistan over discrimination in jobs, unpaid salary hikes

Anti-govt protests continue in Gilgit-Baltistan over discrimination in jobs, unpaid salary hikes

GILGIT BALTISTAN: Anti-government protests in Pakistan occupied Kashmir’s (PoK) Gilgit-Baltistan continued on Tuesday as hundreds of disgruntled employees and healthcare workers demonstrated against the discrimination in government jobs and unpaid salary hikes.

As the protest entered another week, anti-government sloganeering has gone up with more and more people joining in.
“For 2017 we have been knocking the door of bureaucrats and government officials. This is right. Nobody is listening to our demands even after we met the chief secretary. Our charter of demand has gone through the chief minister to the finance department. The government officials are not listening to us and we are being pushed around,” said one of the protestors.

Another protestor said: “I have worked for six months and was paid only for five months. We took the risk (amid pandemic) but did not get paid for it.”

People working in different government departments accuse that their long due salary-hike and promotions have met a bureaucratic blockade at the behest of the political leadership. The government of Pakistan, which has been illegally controlling the region for over seven decades, has sanctioned money and positions all across its geography but not for these people. They say they have always been treated as second class people.

Meanwhile, another group of healthcare workers who were recruited under emergency clauses during the pandemic are holding separate demonstrations in the region. They say they were exploited.

While they were asked to do extra duty owing to the overwhelming infection cases the region reported, they were not paid allowances for the same. Cruelty has been such that they have not been remunerated even for the work they did. It is not just about discriminated strata of society but this region has been reeling under discrimination, deprivation and all forms of human rights of violations for the past several decades.

Islamabad, which makes tall claims of ownership over the region, has done a bare minimum for the region to keep its argument floating in the international community. But it has plundered the region indiscriminately of its land and resources to fill its coffers in Islamabad and please its army generals, who hold virtual control over the decision making bodies of Pakistan. (ANI) 

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