Traders in Gilgit’s NLI market protest against discrimination

Gilgit [PoK]: Shopkeepers in NLI market held a protest against the discrimination by local administration amid lockdown in occupied Gilgit Baltistan.

They blamed the authorities for allowing shows in other markets to remain open with designated time, but their shops are closed for over a month.

Named after ‘The Northern Light Infantry’ or NLI regiment of Pakistan Army, the market is where one can find Chinese goods from clothes to calculators.

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Maulana Maqbool Mir, a trader said, “I returned from a vegetable market and it was overcrowded. Aren’t they facing threat from coronavirus? We were told that we will be facing coronavirus threat in mosques, so we followed the restrictions. In this market, there are small shopkeepers who earn on a daily basis. The Kashmiri market and other markets are open. All the big shops are open. Why shops in those markets are open and not in the NLI market?”

Altaf Hussain, another shopkeeper said, “Are we not human beings? Why this discrimination against us? Corona threat is only at NLI market and not others which are kept open. We need our shops to be allowed open for a specific time.”

Out of the total 30,941 cases in Pakistan, occupied Gilgit-Baltistan reported 442 cases and while there are 86 cases in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Gilgit Baltistan borders China’s Xinjiang province, where a large number of Chinese engineers and workers are engaged in the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

The locals have been facing a severe threat from COVID-19 as the region lacks proper healthcare facilities.

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