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United Kashmir People’s National Party leaders stage sit-in, demand release of protesters detained in PoJK

UKPNP leaders stage sit-in, demand release of detained protesters in PoJK (Photo: ANI)

United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) senior leaders gathered at Tarar Khel in Sudhanoti district of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) and staged a sit-in, expressing solidarity with the Awami Action Committee and called on Pakistan to free all detained activists and refrain from using force against peaceful protesters.

The UKPNP leaders included Sardar Tania, Sardar Afraiz Shaheen, Sajjad Inqalabi, and Sardar Rizwan among others.

Several Kashmiri activists in PoJK have been arrested following violent protests in May when normalcy returned only after the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC), a coalition of civil rights groups, ended their demonstration.

These demonstrations, among the most significant and intense in recent years, were fueled by widespread dissatisfaction with Pakistani government policies on essential services like high electricity tariffs, reduced wheat subsidies, and overall lack of development.

The situation escalated after local leaders were preemptively detained by Pakistani police on May 11 to prevent their planned march to Muzaffarabad, the regional capital.

This heavy-handed response, combined with existing grievances, turned the protests into a major crisis, highlighting deep-rooted frustrations with Pakistan’s governance in the region and its historical policies.

Recently, activists from the JAAC organised a large protest in PoJK’s Pallandri tehsil to condemn the harsh treatment, use of force, and arrests of Kashmiri activists.

They demanded the immediate and unconditional release of those detained. These arrests have sparked outrage locally and drawn attention from human rights groups. The reasons behind these detentions vary, from political dissent to advocating for Kashmiri rights, highlighting broader concerns about freedom of expression and civil liberties in the area.

JAAC’s protests represent significant expressions of dissent and activism against perceived injustices.

Being a political organization advocating various causes, JAAC has mobilized residents to voice their grievances through demonstrations and rallies.

The detention of Kashmiri activists is part of a wider pattern of human rights violations in the region, where activists, journalists, and political opponents critical of the government often face harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary arrests.

Moreover, allegations of media censorship and restrictions have also surfaced in PoJK.