Muzaffarabad: People in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) are facing a severe crisis of essential commodities as Islamabad fails to deliver on its promise during the lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreak in the occupied territory.

The pandemic is acting as salt on the wounds of local residents. Though the government announced relief packages for the people of PoK, nothing has been done thus far.

Moreover, the food items that are available at stores are being sold at much higher prices, further depicting the failure of the price control committees in tackling inflation.

M Altaf Butt, a politician based in Muzaffarabad, told ANI: "A number of days have passed since the lockdown was announced by the government amid the coronavirus pandemic. Though the government rolled out certain plans to cater to the needs of the public, nothing has been done thus far."

"Secondly, the government failed to tackle the growing inflation. At every place, shopkeepers are selling the goods at their own desired prices. The price control committees have miserably failed to control prices," Butt added.

Even the Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan that has its chain of stores in almost all the cities of PoK has failed to provide adequate food items to the people.

With many of its stores often running out of stock, people are left with no option but to return empty-handed. The gas cylinders are also being sold at higher prices in PoK, making the survival very difficult for the people in the occupied territory.

Butt told ANI: "The Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan that has its chain stores in almost all the cities of Pakistan occupied Kashmir but in all of these stores, the essential food items are not available. There is a shortage of other items as well. Moreover, the food items that have subsidy on them that too are unavailable in all the cities. Similarly, there is a number of problems concerning gas cylinders as well".

He added: "There is some mafia working behind, that always sells the gas cylinders at their own desired prices and the government too could do nothing to stop it and thus fails to control the prices."

Whether it is the adequate supply of food materials or providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits to doctors and the paramedical staff in PoK, Pakistan is showing no concern, leaving the beleaguered people to suffer in silence and eventually wither into oblivion.

Pakistan occupied Kashmir has already reported 40 corona patients. Poor testing facilities in the region are a cause of worry among the people as they fear the rapid spread of the virus in the community.