People at a rally in Gilgit Baltistan (PoK) demand reopening of the Kargil road and reunion with India (Photo: Twitter)
Even as Pakistan deals with its multifold crisis, it has a bigger problem on hand. The people in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), who have been protesting for nearly two weeks now, want the region’s merger with India. This is an unprecedented demand which has completely turned around the narrative that Kashmiris want to join Pakistan.
Viral videos show demonstrators demanding the reopening of the Kargil Road that connects the two countries.
With Pakistan battling many setbacks–wheat flour shortage across the nation, insurgency in Balochistan, border conflict with Afghanistan, attacks by the Pakistani Taliban, and a crippling financial crisis, people in PoK have experienced enough. They seek the stability of India.
#Pakistan: Protests rock PoK as Gilgit Baltistan demands reunion with India.
A huge rally in Gilgit Baltistan can be seen demanding the reopening of the Kargil Road and reunion with their fellow Baltis in the Kargil district of the union territory of Ladakh in India. @trk_media pic.twitter.com/HPF64LVVjw
— Sajid Yousuf Shah (@TheSkandar) January 11, 2023
Exiled PoK leader, Shaukat Ali Kashmiri too has been holding meetings in various countries since December to highlight the hardships confronting the people in PoK. He recently told news agency ANI in Geneva that Pakistan has since 1948 exploited natural resources but in return the people in PoK “received unemployment and exile. Most of the people faced very hardships as they have no medical facilities. Even the PM has described that we have no health facility…”.
Arif ki Bhasha
Pakistan’s begging bowl fills with billions of dollars 💵 in Geneva.
Aata (flour) shortage in 🇵🇰 but 165 Mercedes imported for Hierarchies.
Bilawal Zardari’s ugly act.
PoK PM finances Faiz Hameed’s daughter’s marriage
— Arif Aajakia (@arifaajakia) January 10, 2023
Amidst hardships for its people across the length of the country, the residents in PoK have been holding daily protests against Pakistan’s discriminatory policies over ownership of land, making demographic changes, hiking taxes as well as about basic living conditions such as power-cuts, food shortage and electricity rates.
#Gravitas | #Pakistan is grappling with a major economic crisis. Amid this, protests have rocked PoK, as residents of Gilgit Baltistan demand a reunion with Kashmir.@MollyGambhir tells you more pic.twitter.com/HnZYhvmtXu
— WION (@WIONews) January 12, 2023
PoK was created after Pakistan invaded the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir immediately after India’s Partition. Under an onslaught from Pakistani forces and tribal raiders, Maharaja Hari Singh sought military help from India after which the Indian Army halted the Pakistani forces from seizing the entire princely state.
Occupied #GilgitBaltistan …
PAK authorities bulldozed buildings in Makpondas at midnight to transfer land to China-led #CPEC
Now they bulldozed homes in Minawar at midnight to hand land to #Pakistanis
Thieves come after dark to claim something that doesn’t belong to them pic.twitter.com/V9ssZ9Spd4
— #SengeSering ས།ཚ། (@SengeHSering) January 12, 2023
Now, more than seven decades later, while Pakistan has slid into a financial and a humanitarian crisis, India is galloping ahead in its economic and scientific parameters and improving its military prowess. The Indian side of J&K too has progressed considerably in its human index indicators while PoK has remained bereft of economic progress with low human development.
Also read: Mass protests surge against Pakistan in PoK