Gilgit-Baltistan: Protests in Gilgit-Baltistan continued for the eighth consecutive day at Skardu city against Pakistan over illegal land occupation surge in electricity prices and unfair taxes in the region by the authorities.

In a Tweet, the chairman of National Equality Party Jammu Kashmir Gilgit Baltistan and Ladakh (NEP JKGBL) wrote, "Ppl of #GilgitBaltistan protest for the 8th consecutive day at Yaadgaar #Skardu against #Pakistan on the issues of illegal land occupation, cutting subsidies, increasing electricity prices, black laws & imposing unfair taxes. #Pakistani govt & media have closed their eyes & ears."

According to Voice of Vienna, land grabbing and heavy taxes triggered a widespread protest against the Pakistan army in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's (PoK) Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

Local traders and members of various political and social organisations observed a shutters-down strike on December 28 in different parts of Gilgit-Baltistan, keeping markets closed and vehicles off the roads. Most of these demonstrations were held in Skardu, Gilgit, Hunza and Ghizer, and reportedly attended by a large crowd despite freezing temperatures.

Meanwhile, several people on social media circulated certain videos that showed a different side of the protests in which police opened fire bullets directly on protesters in the Minawar area of Gilgit.

There have been regular protests in GB to highlight the 'state-backed' land-grabbing issue. The draconian practice has intensified since GB became the CPEC 'gateway' in 2014, reported Voice of Vienna. Moreover, a massive surge in electricity prices in the region has added to the miseries of the people.

GB is facing an unprecedented power crisis, with daily 18-22 hours of power cuts.

Residents worry that if the intentional and unchecked immigration and settlement of outsiders continues, they may soon become a 'minority' in their own country. Local communities in GB are not represented in the federal government's decision-making organisations on regional initiatives like the development of roads and dams, despite being a gateway to CPEC.