Several students residing in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) who are currently enrolled in the universities of Pakistan-Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) gathered in front of the Muzaffrabad Press Club on January 28 to express their aggression against the atrocities inflicted by Pakistan’s regime on the people of GB.
Amid the protest, the students called upon the leaders of Gilgit-Baltistan, saying, “Every year Pakistan benefits from our natural resources, and countless tourists visit Gilgit-Baltistan. Yet, we lack basic amenities here. We don’t have electricity or health cards. Therefore, many patients die before reaching hospitals. We don’t even have clean water to drink, and there is no internet in this modern era. Pakistan’s oppressive rulers have imposed a curfew in Gilgit, fearing a massive protest from demonstrators. We demand that Pakistan return our fundamental rights that they have been depriving us of for 76 years. We don’t want Pakistan’s Government wheat. We will avenge the 76 years of Pakistani oppression and reclaim our rights.”
Referring to the voices raised by Pakistan in support of Palestine all while their own people are suffering at the hands of the Pakistan regime, the protestors said, “You are raising your voice for Palestine as a leader of human rights. But you should be ashamed that the people of Balochistan are protesting in Islamabad. People in Gilgit-Baltistan and PoJK have been on a sit-in for two months. First, Pakistan should grant human rights to its citizens in its cities, then talk about Palestine. That’s why nobody listens to you… and the whole world makes fun of you.”
The protestors also thwarted the Pakistani media, saying, “Lahore and Pakistan’s shameless media make excuses for restrictions… but they rush to report when dogs die in the streets of Lahore. But where have the Pakistani media gone for Gilgit-Baltistan and PoJK? Definitely, don’t give us coverage… but we will continue to protest here.”
Further the protestors also said, “Whether the rulers listen to us or not, it is our duty to continue our protest because the internet, which was the only means to make our voice reach to the entire world, has been shut down. But don’t think for a moment that our voice will be silenced because of this. Many students from Gilgit-Baltistan are present in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, and all over Pakistan and PoJK. Together, we will raise our voices. We will not only raise our voice for the people on sit-in in Gilgit but also provide full support and solidarity with them.”
As Pakistan has never laid emphasis on learning and enlightenment, the state of education in the regions that Islamabad has illegally taken over is particularly appalling.
There is a serious crisis in the education system in PoJK. Despite the pressing need for better facilities, students and employees in the education sector are being kept away from their basic rights. Amid rising inflation, teaching and administrative staff in PoJK keep demanding their long-overdue salary increases.
(with inputs from ANI)