News Brief

High Inflation, Food Shortage And Protesting Doctors: Pakistan’s Gross Neglect Of PoK Amid Covid-19 Crisis

Swarajya StaffMonday, April 13, 2020 6:21 pm IST
Pakistani PM Imran Khan (Representative Image) (pic via Twitter)
Pakistani PM Imran Khan (Representative Image) (pic via Twitter)

A severe crunch of essential commodities is being faced by the people in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) as Islamabad has failed to deliver on its promise during the lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreak, reports Asian News International.

The relief measures were announced by Pakistan government for the residents, however nothing has been done so far.

The government has failed to check the rising inflation. The food items are sold at much higher price at the whims of the shopkeeper while the price control committee is failing miserably to control such activities.

What is making the condition worse is that even the Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan, which has its chain of stores in almost all the cities of PoK, has many of its stores often running out of stock, leading to many people returning empty-handed.

The report quotes one politician from the region as saying, "The Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan that has its chain stores in almost all the cities of Pakistan occupied Kashmir but in all of these stores, the essential food items are not available. There is a shortage of other items as well. Moreover, the food items that have subsidy on them that too are unavailable in all the cities. Similarly, there is a number of problems concerning gas cylinders as well".

Additionally, as per another report, the region is also facing shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits due to which many doctors and paramedic staff in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) are protesting as they fear getting infected while treating COVID-19 patients.

The report quotes a protesting staff member as saying, "There are just 40 staff members in Ambor hospital, including doctors, paramedics, sweepers, and guards. Can't you provide PPE to 40 people? Do we have such a degraded system? A total of 40 people are running this hospital and you are not in a position to provide us safety kits. We will wash and reuse it."

Moreover, there were reports regarding Pakistan shifting coronavirus affected people from its most populous province, Punjab, and the rest of the country to Mirpur city in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan.

The people are concerned as the region lacks basic facilities and medical staff, and already many residents of the region has to travel to different parts of Pakistan for getting treatment.

It should be noted that PoK has poor healthcare system and is completely unprepared to tackle a situation like the COVID-19 outbreak. The gross neglect by Islamabad is only adding to it woes.

In many areas there are no proper testing facilities in the PoK, nor do they have doctors who are trained in coronavirus tests and testing kits. This is leading to many suspected coronavirus patients roaming amid the rest of the population without being examined.

PoK has already reported 40 covid-19 positive cases. Poor testing facilities and lack of essential commodities are a cause of worry among the population who fear a rapid surge in the number of covid-19 cases.

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