Muzaffarabad: Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK has been reeling under the illegal occupation of Islamabad over the last seven decades.
Today, the region has not just been left bereft of its natural resources due to indiscriminate exploitation by Pakistan but its people too are thrown into a life of misery.
The water of the rivers — Neelum and Jhelum — have also been diverted on the pretext of the generation of hydroelectricity for the people.
When people protested against the construction of these hydropower projects, they were told that the region would get a surplus power supply and water once the project is complete.
But things turned out to be opposite when its construction completed. Ever since the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project has been inaugurated, the lives of people have turned into a nightmare.
Most of the 1,500 MW of energy produced from this plant is transferred to the provinces of Pakistan, especially the pampered province of Punjab.
And now with no water and power in the region, the people here are reeling under darkness. Untimely and prolonged load-shedding has taken a heavy toll on the people of the region.
Venting his frustration over the current power situation in the region and utter negligence of authorities, Muhammad Altaf Butt, a former candidate of PoK Assembly, said: “It is unfortunate that the people of this region, who sacrificed both their land and water for the hydropower projects are enduring one of the worst load-shedding.”
“And even in this situation, the President, Prime Minister, Chief Secretary and Chief Justice of the region couldn’t gather the courage to demand power supply equivalent to that of provincial capitals like Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, and Quetta,” he said.
The region has very few industries and even these are subjected to power outages, leading to incomplete work and unemployment.
“If the region is producing around 1,500 MW of electricity and not getting even the required 400-500 MW, then it is questionable. It should be dealt with. Earlier, the Prime Minister of the region, Raja Farooq Haider Khan used to speak very assertively. But, God knows what happened that he has become quiet with the time,” added Butt.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has made tall claims of providing PoK people life at par with the other citizens of the country, but they are not even getting half of it and the situation is poised to deteriorate further with a rise in energy-demand of Pakistan.
The region, which has been used both as for exploitation and as a dump yard, will be plundered again to satisfy Pakistani needs.