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PoGB: Local leader exposes corruption and unemployment

Local leader from PoGB's Diamer, Kifayat Advocate (Photo: ANI)

A local leader from the Diamer district of Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan (PoGB), Kifayat Advocate, has exposed acts of corruption that have led to severe unemployment in the region.

Reportedly, several top elected members of the current PoGB government led by Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan are involved in these corrupt practices, according to a report by WTV, a local news organisation from the region.

Kifayat Advocate highlighted the ongoing issues with the Tangir Hydropower Plant (THPP), noting that the tender amount for this low-end power project has been increasing rapidly.

He stated, “About five to six years ago, this tender was renewed for a mere PKR 13 crore. When the current minister came to power, the same contract was revised to PKR 23 crores, and recently, it was again revised to over PKR 40 crores. There is a middleman called Amaan involved, and the Chief Minister has around a 50 per cent share in the contract.”

Kifayat Advocate also pointed out flaws in policymaking under the current government, stating, “Our ancestors made contracts with the Pakistani government in 1952, and these acts of corruption destroy and sabotage those agreements. The recruitment process for policymakers in PoGB is flawed”.

He added, “Appointments are not based on merit, skill, competency, vision, knowledge, or experience, leading to a lack of justice. Incompetent policymakers are placed in PoGB, which is destroying the future of our youth. These administrators are always puppets in the hands of Pakistan, as they cannot make their own decisions and have to follow orders.”

Addressing the severe issue of unemployment in PoGB, Kifayat Advocate said, “The knowledgeable and capable youth of PoGB remain unemployed and have no other option but to raise their voices against the matter. When we have capable engineers and hardworking, knowledgeable people here, why are we bringing outsiders to work? The administrative posts of PoGB are being sold for PKR 3-5 lakhs.”

He further added, “Several districts of PoGB like Skardu, Hunza, and Gilgit have education rates higher than most of Pakistan, but these educated people are ruled by uneducated administrators. What sort of setup is this? There is no return from political mistakes, and this could push the people of PoGB towards a severe crisis.”

The advocate from the region sheds light on the pressing issues of corruption and unemployment in PoGB, highlighting the urgent need for reforms.

PoGB has remained under Pakistan’s illegal occupation since 1947 and people have been facing issues like unemployment, corruption, and high inflation for the past several decades.