GILGIT: Wheat will be available in Gilgit-Baltistan at previous rates after the government reversed its move to raise prices, Home Minister Shams Lone announced the decision at a press conference on Tuesday.

The announcement came amid a sustained protest against the government’s decision last month to increase rates of the commodity. According to sources, people in Skardu and Nagar called off their month-long protest after the decision was announced.

A notification issued by the CM Secretariat later in the day said Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan had set up a six-member committee to consult all stakeholders on the grievances and demands of the people.

The government plans to present a set of demands and proposals to Islamabad in the light of suggestions given by the region’s politicians, businessmen, religious figures and social activists, the notification said.

Six-member committee set up to invite suggestions about public grievances

The committee will consist of Senior Minister Ghulam Muhammad, Planning and Development Minister Muhammad Ismail, Excise and Taxation Minister Haji Rehmat Khaliq, Law Minister Sohail Abbas, Home Minister Shams Lone and Education Minister Shehzad Agha.

Meanwhile, a large number of people turned up at Gilgit’s Ettihad Chowk on Monday evening to join the protest against the rise in prices of subsidised wheat.

The campaign is being spearheaded by the Awami Action Committee.

Protesters from Ghizer district also travelled to Gilgit to take part in the campaign. They were led by Nawaz Khan Naji, a member of the G-B Assembly.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Naji assured the protesters that “we won’t compromise on the GB people’s interests”.

Demonstrations were also held at Chilas, the district headquarters of Diamer district. The agitators blocked the Karakoram Highway, causing suspension of traffic for several hours.

They called for making population the sole yardstick for allocation of quota of subsidised wheat for different districts of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2024

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