Covid-19: Tourism industry in Gilgit-Baltistan bearing brunt of lockdown; government remains apathetic

May 26, 2020

Covid-19: Tourism industry in Gilgit-Baltistan bearing brunt of lockdown; government remains apathetic

Gilgit [PoK], May 26 (ANI):The tourism industry of Gilgit Baltistan is bearing the brunt of the lockdown imposed in the wake of the rapid spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
While their earnings have diminished, the interest over the bank loans people took to boost their businesses is accumulating.
It's a two-pronged plight; on one side it has become difficult for people to gather even two square meals amid lockdown, on the other, the hoteliers and others associated with the tourism industry are in the grip of anxiety.
They don't know how they will pay back loans. An inactive administration hasn't shown any interest in their problems.
A local resident said, "From hotel industries to fish farmers and from tourists to porters, everybody has been affected due to the virus. Here, a large section of the population is dependent on the tourism industry and they all are disappointed due to the spread of Coronavirus. Hotel owners took loans worth millions for their hotel business and now they are unable to pay. People want that they should be given some kind of concession so that their troubles can be minimised".
In the region, which is under Pakistan's illegal occupation for over seven decades, a large number of people are unemployed. And, those who are working just manage to fetch the minimum amount required for subsistence.
Hence, the Coronavirus pandemic has also triggered poverty and destitution in the region.
People are in an urgent need of economic assistance, but those controlling the exchequer have turned deaf ears to the situation.
"The federal administration has done nothing to save the tourism industry in the region. We keep ourselves updated with the news but the government has so far not announced any package. This is the reason why the hotel industry, porters and everybody associated with the tourism industry has been severely affected by the spread of the virus. The administration should ensure that people of this region, who too have been affected like others are given relief packages and subsidies so that they can also live a better life", said a resident.
The authorities in Gilgit Baltistan have always been apathetic to the sufferings of locals.
They do what is instructed by the people sitting in Islamabad and not what is in the interest of the people.
Although the locals have come to terms with this misrule and discrimination, the gravity of the pandemic had made them hopeful of receiving at least humanitarian aid from their occupier.
They were wrong. Their hopes have been crushed. Pakistan is not ready to even sympathize with these people let alone announcing a relief package. (ANI)