COVID-19: PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan families complain of police atrocities, lack of proper medical facilities
Gilgit/IBNS: Apart from alleged improper implementation of policies by the government at a time when the country is facing COVID-19 outbreak, reports are now emerging that Pakistani agencies are committing atrocities on the people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan.
A family in Islamgarh area of Mirpur district of PoK even alleged in a viral video that they were beaten up by the police without any reason.
They said police visited their house and beat them.
The police allegedly even attacked the women members in the family and ripped off their clothes.
A family member told ANI news agency, "We are not criminals and did not engage in any unlawful activity. The whole colony is witness to the incident as the policemen entered our home and brutally beaten us. They tore the clothes of women.
"They alleged that we have burst crackers in the area, which is totally false. A large number of people from PoK are settled overseas. Many of them who are visiting their houses are now being targeted by the authorities and security agencies, and they are forcibly taken in custody."
People in the region even said they have been denied proper testing facilities for COVID-19.
In Kotli, where a COVID-19 clinic has been set up, people have continuously complained of non-availability of medical equipment and the absence of medical staff.
A suspected COVID-19 patient at the clinic told ANI, "I came here at 9 am and have been waiting for the past three hours. There is no doctor available."
Another person, who recently came from Dubai said, "The COVID-19 clinic lacks basic hygiene and there is no facility of masks and gloves."Poor healthcare infrastructure and the non-availability of medical equipment in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan has triggering widespread panic among the people."
Political leaders of Pakistan occupied Kashmir region also voiced troubles faced by the people in the region.
Dr. Misfar Hasan, a political activist from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, told ANI, "There are many more issues arising, the doctors are there without protective equipment, there are no ventilators and no other support. A large population has been left at risk as there does not seem to be any strategy."
He added, "The same is the situation in Gilgit Baltistan as there are only a few ventilators and no trained doctors who can manage the seriously ill."
Sajjad Raja, Chairman of National Equality Party JKGBL told the agency, "Hospitals there are only the referral centres. Patients who go to hospitals are just referred to Rawalpindi for treatment. According to government statistics, the total population is over four million and there are only two ventilators in whole PoK."
He added, "Pakistan plunders trillions of rupees from PoK and Gilgit Baltistan - foreign exchange, electricity, waters, minerals, and forestry resources and in return, the total budget of PoK was only Rs 121.05 billion and Gilgit Baltistan was Rs 62.95 billion."
Pakistan has so far confirmed 5131 COVID-19 cases.
The country has reported 88 deaths so far.