Local politicians demand change as rising prices, govt. apathy plague PoK

Sep 19, 2023

Muzaffarabad [PoK], September 19 : Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has been grappling with the cascading effects of Islamabad's policies, leaving its residents in distress.
The region has long endured what locals describe as "second-class treatment" since its invasion in 1947. Recent developments, including skyrocketing fuel prices, scarcity of essential commodities, and a lack of responsive governance, have pushed the people of PoK to their limits.
Local politicians in PoK have been vocal about the dire situation.
While criticizing the caretaker government for increasing petroleum prices twice, putting an additional burden on the already struggling population, one prominent local leader emphasized the need for free and fair elections.
“All we want is that this place should have free and fair elections. The unprecedented hike in diesel and petrol prices must be rolled back. The government should actively work towards addressing the crisis of wheat flour, which has made people stand in queues. The caretaker government has increased petroleum prices twice, which is only due to the strain of the common people. There are vehicles for transportation but people don’t want to use them because there has been an unprecedented hike in fares.” said a politician.    
The residents feel increasingly helpless as they grapple with the double whammy of rising costs and government apathy.
The dire state of healthcare, education, road infrastructure, transport, and electricity further compounds the region's woes, leaving citizens with nowhere to turn.
Their hopes now rest on the promise of reforms and responsive governance, as they grapple with the harsh reality that their region continues to bear the brunt of Islamabad's policies.
Another politician said “People who are bearing the brunt of the situation are those who live in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. There is a government in the region, there are ministers but they don’t have authority. Where should people go with their issues related to health, education, road, transport and electricity? Whenever people reach any minister, the minister refuses to help under the pretext that he has not been assigned any ministry or department. Because of this, there is an atmosphere of concern in the region. There is an atmosphere of political instability.”         
Their plight underscores the urgent need for attention to be directed towards this beleaguered region, where everyday life has become a struggle against adversity.
As prices continue to surge and governance remains ineffective, the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir yearn for change and relief.