English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

PoJK: Awami Action Committee vows to persist in protests amid security force crackdown

Protests in PoJK (Photo: ANI)

The Awami Action Committee in Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) has vowed to continue protests amid a police crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in Muzaffarabad.

Protests against inflation turned violent on Friday as police cracked down on demonstrators in the capital, Muzaffarabad. The city was brought to a standstill as a wheel-jam and shutter-down strike paralyzed normal activities.

Shaukat Nawaz Mir, a prominent figure in the movement, narrowly avoided arrest and emerged as a leading voice, addressing gatherings across the town, and emphasizing the determination to continue their struggle.

“Put any tag on us, but as long as God is with us, you cannot harm us. Let us live in peace. If you raid people’s houses again and arrest them, there will be no peace. I am saying this openly,” said Shaukat Nawaz Mir in his address.

He added, “I appeal to everyone to save your region, save your identity. If your identity remains intact, everything will be possible; otherwise, nothing could be achieved. I have faith in all of you that you will fight this long battle and achieve success. The battle has to be fought with peace and by saving ourselves. It will be difficult to fight if you don’t stay grounded.”

The Awami Action Committee called for the protest, demanding tax-free electricity from the Mangla Dam and subsidies on wheat flour.

The strike was catalyzed by overnight police raids resulting in the arrests of numerous leaders and activists. Clashes ensued between law enforcement and protesters in Muzaffarabad, Dadyal, Mirpur, and other parts of PoJK.

Reports indicate that Pakistan’s security forces employed excessive force against peaceful demonstrators. Tear gas and bullets were reportedly used against unarmed civilians exercising their right to protest.

A protester and senior citizen whose house was raided by security forces said, “My house was raided yesterday evening, and another attempt was made this morning, but I stopped them. Those people who are with the action committee are not going to back down.”

Last year, a similar shutter-down strike occurred, echoing demands for fair electricity pricing aligned with the production costs of hydel power in PoJK.

Despite prior negotiations and a subsequent government notification in February, grievances persisted, leading to the decision to stage a long march in protest against unmet commitments.

The effects of the strike were evident throughout Muzaffarabad, with businesses closed, banks shuttered, and streets devoid of traffic and vendors.