Gilgit-Baltistan: People in Pak-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan have been protesting for months now. All political, religious and social organisations are demonstrating against the government's decision to increase the wheat price and end subsidies.

On the other hand, the provincial government is saying that setting the price of wheat artificially low encouraged smuggling, hoarding, and black marketeering.

Thus, in spite of pressure from the federal government for a significant increase, the provincial government set reasonable prices after consulting stakeholders and giving priority to the public interest.

Surprisingly, the government is claiming that the adjusted prices won't burden the common man. The public's rage has grown even more as a result of the government's rationalisation for raising wheat prices.

The locals are fiercely opposed to the government's decision to stop providing the wheat subsidy. Putting aside disagreements, the people in the area are calling for their basic rights.

They want the wheat subsidy to be restored as quickly as possible. Threatening the government with a shutdown strike, political organisations are saying that if their demands are not met soon, they will start blocking the roads.

"We are warning the government in advance to reverse the harsh decision because they will not be able to hide anywhere. People are calling for the maintenance of the 2022 rate and the restoration of the previous subsidy" Ehsan Ali, leader of the Awami Action Committee, told Pamir Times.

The furious protestors are saying that they will pay extra for the wheat sacks if ministers, bureaucrats, and army generals give up all subsidies. Protesters claim that the majority of the things enjoyed by those in positions of authority are given to them for free or at a reduced cost.

Ehsan Ali said, "Taxes can be eliminated by the government by cutting costs and removing corruption. Additionally, it might lessen the issues facing the government. However, they are not prepared for this. The Islamabad federal government is in charge of them. They have no regard for common people. This decision is not acceptable to us."

In response to the spike in wheat prices, the Awami Action Committee and the All-Party Alliance started region-wide protests in Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan on December 21. Earlier, the authorities had been given an ultimatum to reduce wheat prices by December 20.

In addition to the wheat subsidy problem, load shedding, illegal land occupation, and resource exploitation are major sources of anger for the local residents.

Reflecting public frustration with government policies, the unified stance of different political organisations during protests highlights the gravity of the situation. The region-wide protests in Gilgit-Baltistan represent the struggle for autonomy, going beyond a simple demonstration over basic requirements.