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World News | PoK-GB: No respite for people living under Pakistani occupation

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Author: Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza

Gilgit-Baltistan [PoK]June 28 (ANI): Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan (PoK-GB) have successively passed the 2023-24 budget. Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza writes that one glance at these two places is enough to prove that, for those living in PoK-GB under Pakistani occupation, the There is no respite in the state.

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On June 21, the Central Bank of Pakistan Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad unanimously approved a budget worth Rs 2.32 trillion. On June 26, the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly of Gilgit approved a budget worth PKR 1.16 trillion. Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza is a writer and human rights activist from PoJK Mirpur. He is currently in exile in the UK. None of them address the key issues of unemployment, upskilling or job creation in PoK-GB. No budget allocates significant funds to projects related to women’s empowerment.

None of the budgets takes pensions or wage increases seriously. The budget passed by the PAC was not even challenged by the opposition or members of the House of Representatives. With inflation rising at around 48%, wages increased by only 35% and pensions increased by 17.5% while requiring a 100% increase.

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Rs 4,200 crore allocated in the name of development fund. However, out of the Rs 2.32 trillion total, a staggering Rs 1.19 trillion was issued as non-development funds. Rs 4,400 crore has been allocated for education and these funds will be used to pay wages, electricity bills, fuel for government vehicles, etc. Currently, in the Pakistan-controlled capital Muzaffarabad alone, 811 school buildings that suffered structural damage from the October 2005 earthquake are awaiting renovation or full reconstruction. As with previous budgets, this time around there is still no funding and children of the past 18 years have been forced to attend schools in the open.

So out of a total Rs 440 crore allocation for education, Rs 400 crore will go to pay salaries and other expenses and not a cent will go to curriculum development, special needs children or tutoring for those with learning difficulties. Rs 52 crore has been earmarked for industry and trade, waiting to be sucked up by corrupt bureaucracies and middlemen.

Rs 4 crore has been earmarked for culture and sports which will be used for India-hate activities such as Kashmir Unity Day celebrated on Feb 5 every year, Defense Day celebrated on Sept 6 and so-called independence celebrations on Aug 14 . Read about Partition) days and religious festivals to maintain the false narrative of Jinnah’s Two Kingdoms theory, etc. Similarly, Rs 1,752 crore has been allocated to pay the salaries of Papua New Guinea’s health sector staff and purchase medicines. Government hospitals have long been unable to provide medicines, with even a single tablet of paracetamol having to be purchased by patients from pharmacies outside the hospital.

As a result, the cash left over after payroll is spent on electricity bills and forged invoices claiming billions of dollars in fuel and repairs for ambulances and other vehicles owned by the health department. The budget proposed by the PoGB Legislative Assembly is no different in terms of development, health or education. PoGB has declared a deficit of Rs 5,000 crore out of the total budget of Rs 1.16 trillion for 2023-24. The government “hopes” to get grants from Pakistan, which itself faces serious economic challenges.

The current budget has allocated Rs 2,800 crore for development. However, a staggering Rs 7,400 crore has been earmarked for non-development expenses. Of the total Rs 1.16 trillion, the government will bear the lion’s share of Rs 1.02 trillion. If Pakistan provides a grant of Rs 50 billion, then the government is left with only Rs 14 billion. This is the story of PoK-GB’s oppression under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. Due to long-term oppression, the upper echelons of both the PoK and PoGB have deep-seated ties to the military establishment and thus enjoy huge salaries and other privileged budgetary benefits in the form of subsidized electricity bills, free cheap fuel, large numbers of servants, holidays, and bonuses in government contracts rebate.

Oppressed people have no chance in PoK-GB. On June 14, 166 young people from PoK Kotli drowned off the coast of Greece when their boat capsized en route to Italy. There was no special provision in the PoK’s budget for financial help for the families of the deceased, who had borrowed Rs 2-3 lakh each to cover the cost of surrogates taking them abroad. This left the family of the deceased deeply in debt and at the mercy of loan sharks.

Under Pakistani occupation, young people have no chance. The unemployment rate in PoK is 14.4%. That’s 700,000 unemployed.

According to a report in the Daily Dawn newspaper published on January 23, 2021, “Nearly 5,000 students graduate from Gilgit-Baltistan every year…of which no more than 500 are able to find employment”.

How many times must it be proved beyond doubt that the people of PoK-GB living under Pakistani occupation do not and never will have a respite? (Arnie)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have revised or edited the body of content)


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