Corona, lack of food and political dissent | Instant News


By Amjad Ayub MirzaGlasgow [Scotland]June 1 (ANI): There were 19 new cases of coronavirus in Gilgit, 11 in Skardu and 3 in Nagar, bringing the total number of infected patients in Gilgit-Baltistan (PoGB) occupied by Pakistan to 711 on Monday.

Once again the sharp increase in coronavirus patients in PoGB has exposed the failure of federal and regional health authorities to combat the deadly pandemic.

The total number of positive cases in PoGB is 678. The total number of Corona Virus patients in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) also witnessed a sharp increase in cases because 8 new cases were reported today in Muzafarabad, 2 in Poonch, 2 in Bagh, 4 in Sudhnoti, respectively in Mirpur and Bhimber brought the number of patients to 270.

Doctors and health workers have been protesting nonstop against the lack of criminal protective equipment and treatment facilities in the region.

The incident was reported when a family member who heard about the death of a coronavirus patient physically attacked doctors and hospital staff in the districts of Gilgit, Diamer and Hunza in PoGB. In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, doctors have been on strike for the past three weeks demanding better working conditions.

Unfortunately, both the federal government and the PoK legislative assembly have not lent their ears. Therefore, the situation in the occupied part of India was left at the mercy of destiny.

One reason for the recent surge in the case of coronavirus at PoGB is said to be the large influx of tourists in cities along the Karakorum Highway. On May 27, Ahmed from Hussaini in the Gojal subdivision reported on social media that he had observed a large number of tourists in his city while local residents remained forcibly confined in their homes.

He complained that this happened despite a tourism ban and a travel ban without getting permission from the district government.

Ahmed accused the local bureaucracy of facilitating their family members which caused a sudden invasion of tourists in each district.

Complaining about indifference to social distance during the Covid-19 pandemic, Ali Haider, a local athlete said, “Locked only to locals. We were asked to keep our distance from each other and be quarantined. But, officials visited Hunza by bringing them family for what? Just to make their Idul Fitri special, I believe no one will do anything, both DC (Deputy Commissioner), AC (Assistant Commissioner), no, because they (they themselves issue) legal NOC (No Objection of Certificate) permit. “On Eid al-Fitr there are no staff available because of the festival holidays to treat patients who have been quarantined.

They complained about the unhygienic conditions and lack of facilities, which were initially promised by the local government, forcing patients themselves to sweep their own room floors.

As a health sector, Pakistan’s economic segment also presents a grim picture.

In April 2020, the inflation rate was 8.5 percent, but if we pay close attention, it is not difficult to see that Pakistan will face a situation of near-starvation in the coming months.

Approximately 1,000 utility shops established in the 1970s to meet the needs of low-income families by providing basic food supplies at cheap and controlled prices are being closed while the sugar and wheat mafia enjoy mega-profits by issuing large subsidies for them and at least 20 percent price increase.

In 2017, the World Food Program estimates that 68 percent of families in Pakistan cannot afford to buy nutritious food.

Two thirds of households suffer from malnutrition resulting in stunted growth of 34 percent of the city’s population and 43 percent of rural children.

This situation will only get worse especially after the destruction caused by locust attacks on plants in central and southern Punjab.

Grasshopper attacks combined with rising unemployment because the locked Covid-19 has increased the misery of farmers and industrial workers.

Fearing the food crisis, the Pakistani government has refused to provide 300,000 sacks of rice and wheat to help Pakistan occupy Gilgit-Baltistan.

When the total number of coronaviruses in Pakistan reaches nearly 70,000 and the mortality rate nears 1500 combined with rising inflation and a shadowing food crisis will push civilian and military governments towards an inevitable and deadly confrontation.

The persistence in which the Pakistani military added pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan to revoke the 8th Amendment and bring taxes and income under direct control of the federal treasury would cause a direct collision between the province and the federation (read Pakistani Army).

With the ongoing armed struggle for independence in Balochistan, a united front recently formed between the Urdu-speaking Muhajir community and Sindhi nationalists demanding succession from Pakistan and a resistance movement initiated by the Tahafuz Pashtun Movement in the Waziristan killing field in northern Pakistan along with the challenge of defending illegally occupied PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan will sooner or later cause a political explosion that will shake the very geographical foundations of the sub-continent.

[Disclaimer: Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza is an author and a human rights activist from Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He currently lives in Scotland.] (ANI)

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