Situation in PoJK worsens as fresh clashes erupt between protesters, authorities


Muzaffarabad [PoJK]: The situation continues to worsen as fresh violence erupted in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) due to clashes between protestors and authorities.

Several videos circulating on social media show protesting civilians running for their lives as protests turn violent, as seen in the videos.

This comes amid a wheel-jam strike that is continuing for the fourth consecutive day in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK).

Protesters have already started sit-ins, effectively shutting down the Kohala-Muzaffarabad Road at various points along its 40-kilometre stretch, which connects Kohala town with Muzaffarabad in PoJK. Their route from Dhirkot is expected to lead them to the capital.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of PoJK, Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, has said that the Awami Action Committee’s (AAC) demands have been met by the state administration following a fourth day of violent protests against increases in taxes and the price of power.

“No one can reject two fundamental demands regarding cheap roti [bread] and electricity,” PM Anwar said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, adding that PM Shehbaz Sharif assured of his all-out support to address issues of the PoJK people, reported Geo News.

He made it clear that the government did not intend to interfere with the PoJK people’s non-violent struggle and would not attempt to influence one in the future.

In spite of legal infractions, he claimed, the administration showed tolerance and patience. He further mentioned that while not a single marcher was hurt, over 100 police officers were hurt in violent altercations with the demonstrators.

Accepting all demands placed by the AAC, the PoJK government issued a notification regarding subsidies for power and food commodities.

However, the Awami Action Committee (AAC) is expected to call off the protest today.

The price of flour, according to PoJK PM has been lowered from (PKR) 3,100 to (PKR) 2,000 per 40 kilogrammes, according the notice.

Whereas, electricity rates will therefore be (PKR) 3 per unit for usage within the first 100 units, (PKR) 5 per unit for usage within the next 100 to 300 units, and (PKR) 6 per unit for usage beyond the 300 unit threshold.

Commercial power tariffs are established at (PKR) 10 per unit for slabs of one to three hundred units and (PKR) 15 per unit for slabs of three hundred units or more, reported Geo News.

The AAC had called for a shutter-down and wheel-jam strike across the state as a mark of their protest against electricity price hikes and taxes. However, the situation escalated as clashes broke out between protesters and police.

During the clashes, a sub-inspector lost his life. Several policemen and protesters also sustained injuries following tear gas shelling and stone-pelting incidents.

The protesters’ actions also led to the vandalism of multiple vehicles, including a magistrate’s car, along the Poonch-Kotli road. Additionally, markets, trade centers, offices, schools, and restaurants remained closed across PoJK.

In response to the violence, police launched a massive crackdown and arrested dozens of individuals in the PoJK capital.

Telecommunication and internet services were also suspended in various parts of PoJK, including Bhimber and Bagh Towns. In Mirpur, all mobile networks and internet services remained suspended.

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