Saturday, May 25th, 2024

UK: Kashmiris protest outside Pakistani Consulate in solidarity with the ongoing unrest in PoJK

As unrest grew in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK), members of the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) protested outside the Pakistani Consulate in the UK city of Bradford.

During their demonstration outside the Consulate, several party leaders and Kashmiri diaspora expressed their support for the ongoing struggle of the people of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan (POGB) . UKPNP reported.

UKPNP leaders expressed their support for the charter of demands put forward by the Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) and condemned the deployment of Punjab Constabulary and Frontier Corps from Punjab province.

Earlier, expressions of discontent were seen in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK), where wheel jams and shutter-down strikes left the city in disarray. According to a report by Pakistan’s leading news outlet Dawn, the protest was inspired by a call by the People’s Action Committee condemning the recent police action.

Reportedly, clashes broke out between law enforcement and protesters in various areas, which continued till late Friday evening. The riotous scenes witnessed stone pelting and intense tear gas shells, increasing tension in the area.

The strike came in the wake of the arrest of several leaders and workers of the Jammu and Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee in overnight police raids in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur divisions. The report states that this pre-emptive action motivated the committee to garner support for its cause.

The long march towards Muzaffarabad, scheduled for May 11, was announced by the committee last month, with an emphasis on widespread participation from across the state. At the core of this movement is a deep objection to the unjust taxation imposed on electricity bills. Last year, a similar shutter-down strike was carried out, echoing the demand for fair power pricing in line with the production cost of hydropower in the PoJK.

Despite prior negotiations and a subsequent government notification in February, grievances persisted, culminating in a decision to hold a long march in protest against unfulfilled commitments.

Responding to JAAC’s call for a long march, Pakistani Army Rangers were deployed in Pakistan on Sunday to control violent protests that broke out in the area, The News International reported.

The decision was taken on the call of Awami Action Committee (AAC) as protests against high electricity bills and taxes entered the third day on Sunday. This development comes after a clash between police and protesters during a demonstration in Mirpur, in which one policeman was killed and more than 70 people were injured.

Meanwhile, mobile services have also been affected in several areas after mobile phone and internet services were suspended in various parts of PoJK, including Bhimbar, Mirpur and Bagh Town, The News International reported.

Furthermore, the central leadership of the AAC has distanced itself from the violent incidents that took place during the protests. Sajid Jagwal, one of the AAC members, said that their movement is peaceful. He said that he has been sitting for two days and no incident has happened.

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