Wednesday, 22 May 2024
WorldPakistan: Strike continues for the fourth day in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir over...

Pakistan: Strike continues for the fourth day in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir over inflation, situation tense

Islamabad. The complete strike launched in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) against high prices of wheat flour, electricity and high taxes continued for the fourth day on Monday, keeping the situation tense in the entire region. At the same time, after the violent clashes between security forces and protesters, the Pakistan government has intensified efforts to control the situation. Clashes broke out between police and rights activists in the disputed area on Saturday, leaving at least one police officer dead and more than 100 people injured. Most of the injured were policemen.

Life came to a standstill due to the complete strike on Friday. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is likely to hold a high-level meeting on Monday to discuss the current situation after talks between the protesters and the state government failed. Members of the Jammu and Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) are demanding fixing of electricity prices as per the cost of hydropower generation in the region, end of subsidy on wheat flour and privileges of the elite class. Under the leadership of JAAC, a long march was taken out in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

After no solution was found in talks between the JAAC Core Committee and area Chief Secretary Dawood Barach, the protesters announced to march towards Muzaffarabad. A protest leader from Rawalakot accused the government of adopting evasive tactics. According to the news published in Pakistani newspaper Dawn, the protesters have already closed the Kohala-Muzaffarabad road at many places and are sitting on strike there. It was reported that a large number of police forces have been deployed at intersections and sensitive places. Markets, business centers and educational institutions are closed, while transport services are at a standstill. After clashes broke out between police and protesters in Mirpur on Saturday, the so-called government called Rangers.

Expressing concern over the violent clashes between police and protesters, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday said, “Taking the law into one’s own hands will not be tolerated at all”. He said, “I urge all parties to adopt peaceful means to resolve their demands.” Despite the best efforts of the opponents, it is expected that the matter will be resolved soon.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari urged all stakeholders to exercise restraint and resolve issues through dialogue and mutual consultation. He stressed that political parties, state institutions and the people of the region should act responsibly so that opponents cannot exploit the situation for their own benefit. The President also said that the demands of the people of the area should be met as per the law. He said he would discuss these issues with Prime Minister Sharif to find a way out of the current situation.

The President expressed regret at the current situation. He expressed grief over the unfortunate death of the police officer and prayed for the speedy recovery of all those injured in the clashes. Protesters protesting for their demands damaged several vehicles, including a magistrate’s car, on the Poonch-Kotli road on Saturday. Apart from this, markets, business centres, offices, schools and restaurants remained closed in the entire area. After violence broke out in various places in PoK, police took action against the protesters and arrested dozens of people in Muzaffarabad. A day earlier, the government had also suspended mobile phone and internet services in various parts of the region.

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