Unrest in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Unrest in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

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Unrest in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Clashes took place between police and protesters in Muzaffarabad

Indian leaders have repeatedly started reiterating that at the most suitable time the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir including Gilgit Baltistan and Shakshagam Valley will be liberated. Seats have been provided for Pakistan Occupied territories in the fresh delimitation of Constituencies for whole of Jammu & Kashmir

Protests have been occurring in PoK for several years. However now Protesters in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir called for total shutdowns and the declaration of a “black day” on Tuesday after blaming Pakistani paramilitary forces for killing three young men and injuring several others on Monday evening.

The Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC), has been marching towards Muzaffarabad since May 11, over demands including subsidised flour and electricity.

Fearing a huge backlash the Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved a 23 billion rupee subsidy programme, drastically reducing the price of wheat and flour. However because of the killings by the Pakistani Occupation Forces, the protests have flared up further.

“Our protesters were completely peaceful but the Occupant government’s decision to call in rangers meant that they wanted to use force against us, and now we see that three people were killed,” said a prominent Kashmiri leader.

The Paki government has issued a notification ordering the closure of government offices and all educational institutions in the region. The protests, which started over the weekend, also saw the partial suspension of mobile internet services as well.

The Paki Occupation government officials have hinted, on social media, at “enemy propaganda” fanning the tensions — an apparent allusion to India. But officially, Islamabad has not blamed India for the crisis it faces in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir just yet.

What are the protests about?

The Kashmir valley is the picturesque, but contentious Himalayan region which Pakistan tried to grab from India after independence from British rule in 1947. Paki troops were repulsed after they had nearly reached Srinagar. Thereafter when finally a UN brokered ceasefire took place in 1948, Pakistan was still in possession of around one third of the entire State of J& K.

With a population of more than four million, Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, has for show a “semiautonomous government “ with its own prime minister.

According to Imtiaz Aslam, a senior leader of the 31-member JAAC which includes labour leaders, traders, transporters and other civil society members in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, their demands include full autonomy.

Aslam, who was speaking from the region’s Bagh district while leading a convoy of hundreds of people to Muzaffarabad, roughly 75km north, said the protesters were urging the Paki government to rein in spending on officials. The protesters allege that slashing the bureaucracy of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir could ensure it has more resources to spend on the public.

According to Aslam of the JAAC, the residents put forward 10 demands before the Occupation Govt, nine of which they agreed to in February but has failed to deliver.

The demands included the provision of subsidised flour, the provision of electricity at its production cost. Protesters say the people of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir should get electricity at cost since it is generated locally, through Mangla Dam, situated in the Mirpur district of PoK.

However instead of fulfilling the demands, Paki Occupation Forces have unleashed brutal violence on peaceful demonstrations.

Kashmiris in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi rallied to support the protests in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir

As tensions grew during protests over the last few days, the Occupation government called in paramilitary forces and deployed extra police.

The JAAC leadership were arrested pre-emptively by officials, prompting them to call for a general strike on May 10. That was followed by a call for protests and a long march on May 11, which was to move towards Muzaffarabad.

On Saturday, clashes took place between the protesters and police in various cities in the region.

The JAAC has firmly denied accusations by Paki officials that it is being supported ty India and said its demands are for the welfare of the residents of PoK.

Ali, the Pakistani Commissioner of Mirpur says while most of the protesters were peaceful, a small minority of brought weapons, turning the weekend demonstrations violent.