POK Erupts As Slogans Of 'Azaadi' Echo Amid Brutal Crackdown By Pakistan Army — Here's What We Know So Far

Ujjwal Shrotryia

May 13, 2024, 12:25 PM | Updated May 14, 2024, 01:06 PM IST

Pakistan Army has launched a brutal crackdown to quell the protests.
Pakistan Army has launched a brutal crackdown to quell the protests.

Massive protests have spread across large parts of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) following widespread arrests of peaceful protesters and a brutal police crackdown in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur districts.

The protest initially started against high inflation, high taxation, and electricity shortages in Dadyal tehsil of Mirpur district.

However, following a brutal police crackdown to quell the peaceful procession, the protests have now morphed into a movement for rights and freedom from the Pakistani administration, with the protesters chanting slogans of 'Azaadi'.

This all resulted after Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JKJAAC) called for protests and a march on 11 March to Muzaffarabad to raise voice against high inflation & taxation apart from the electricity shortages gripping the region.

However, on the night of 10 March, police arrested dozens of leaders of the JKJAAC which led to the protest turning violent with civilians clashing with the police leaving one police officer dead and injuring hundreds of civilians.

This caused the protests to spread to other regions of PoK as well, forcing the Pakistani administration to impose Section 144.

The police fired tear gas shells some of which landed in a school injuring girls nearby.

"We reject imposition of taxes on electricity bills. Instead, we demand that electricity should be provided to consumers in accordance with the production cost of hydel power in the region," Shaukat Nawaz, member of the JKJAAC and chairman of the Traders Association Muzaffarabad, said.

This is the second time similar protests for high electricity charges have spread through PoK. The last time this happened was in August 2023 which was also met by similar violent reaction by Pakistani forces.

This comes at a time when the Pakistani economy has to face foreign exchange and balance of payment crisis. Pakistan last year received a bailout package of $3 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It is now looking for another bailout package of $6-8 billion from the IMF to ride over the high inflation in the country.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

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