Kashmir: Gilgit-Baltistan’s Worsening Financial Crisis; The Battle for Survival

Jammu & Kashmir POK - Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

The deteriorating condition of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) is a matter of great concern as the region has lost its political and constitutional identity in the past seven decades. Now it is facing a serious financial crisis and sought release of funds from the Federal government to pay for salaries of the government employees.

Meanwhile, the region is facing a serious shortage of wheat. However, due to the high inflation prevailing in Pakistan, there has been an increase in the wheat price across the country , the GB government had to purchase less wheat which resulted in the wheat shortage in the area as additional funds from the federal government are required to purchase the required quantity of wheat for the area people.

Yesterday (12/10/2023), the contractor community of Gilgit took out a protest rally from the PWD circle office to the Chief Secretary’s office and reached in front of the Chief Secretary’s office shouting slogans of “Stop economic killings, we don’t believe in the code of cruelty”. Former Contractor Association President Firdous Ahmed, Gilgit District President Shehzad Noori and Anisur Rehman while speaking said that the Chief Secretary should stop the economic killing of the small contractor community and the arrears should be paid immediately. He mentioned that they are demanding payment for the work done and not begging. It is their legal right. But the government is not listening. The contractor community has now decided not to work in the whole of GB until all the payments are done. The sources in Government of GB mentions that they don’t have funds with them even to pay regular salaries to the employees. The situation is very bad in GB.

Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah while taking about the financial situation mentioned that unless we ask for anything we will not get anything. There is no money in the coffers of Government Treasury. He is going to Islamabad with the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan to ask for funds so that employees could be paid salaries and development works including repair of dilapidated roads in Gilgit-Baltistan could be taken.

With Pakistan already reeling under an acute financial crisis even after the IMF bailout, it would be difficult for the GB government to get any more funds for the people of GB.