Gilgit-Baltistan [PoK], December 23 (ANI): A transmission tower was recently set on fire by locals in Gilgit Baltistan citing it was of no use as the region was not getting any power.
While a large part of the Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan receives just 5 to 6 hours of electricity in a day, the remaining parts do not get even that.
Locals, who held a demonstration against the government, said that they were duped into installing smart meters at their homes but never given adequate power supply.
The meter, with unnecessary features, charges more than the conventional rates. They want them removed. Gilgit- Baltistan, a region under Pakistan's illegal occupation is among the top regions in the world with maximum electricity generation potential.
Home to some giant soaring rivers and gigantic glaciers, the region is blessed with an abundance of water resources thus making it a suitable destination for hydropower generation projects. However, due to the absence of a political will, deep-rooted corruption and systematic discrimination by the authorities, the residents are deprived of the proper supply of electricity.
The available sources of power cater mostly to the people of Pakistan and not the region.
"There's no electricity here for 18 hours, almost daily and people who don't pay electricity tax are getting to enjoy the amenity," one of the demonstrators said.
Residents complain that the electricity crisis is deepening day by day as it not only affecting their day to day lives but also their health and employment.
Another demonstrator, while echoing a similar sentiment, said, "We would continue the protests outside the office of the Water and Power secretary if our demands are not met. We will destroy these smart metres that have been imposed on us," another demonstrator said.
Most of Gilgit Baltistan's electricity revenue is exhausted as salaries and perks to the Pakistani officials and a minuscule of it is allotted for the development of the ongoing projects.
Authorities use cheap and outdated machinery along with substandard material that leads to the downfall of the efficiency of the power plants.
The region of Gilgit Baltistan is under Pakistan's illegal occupation for more than seven decades and it has plundered it ruthlessly. Islamabad tapped the region's hydro resources to meet the needs of Lahore and Rawalpindi. It exploited the region's tourism potential to fill its own coffers and now it is giving away people's land to China in order to secure its favours on international platforms.
Earlier known as Northern Areas, Gilgit-Baltistan has been governed by the "Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order of 2009".
Locals accuse Pakistan of systematically exploiting the resources of the region and not sharing the dividends with them.
Any resistance, they say, meets brutal government reprisal with activists and leaders hounded, arrested and tortured. (ANI)