Violent Protest Against Price Hike in PoK: Police Attacked, One Dead, 70 Injured, Vehicles Damaged

Amidst increasing prices and power cuts in Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir (PoK), continuous protests were held for several days. During this period, clashes occurred between the police and the All Parties Action Committee (AAC) in PoK on Saturday. One police officer died, and 70 were injured in the clashes.

According to Geo News, the AAC appealed for a shutdown across PoK during the protests. Subsequently, schools, offices, restaurants, markets, and other public places were seen deserted. Heavy police deployment was witnessed in Madina Market of PoK. Rallies were organized by the AAC activists. Police erected barricades on the roads of Muzaffarabad.

Following this, there were clashes between protesters and police near Islamabad. The police alleged that protesters started firing at them, resulting in Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Adnan Qureshi getting shot in the chest. Tear gas was used by the police to control the crowd, while protesters also pelted stones at the police.

Amidst the deteriorating situation in PoK, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has called for an emergency meeting on Monday. According to reports, the President demanded proposals to improve the situation in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Imposition of Section 144 and Suspension of Mobile Services

Amidst violence, several government vehicles were set on fire. The police also arrested many protesters. In response to the tension, Section 144 has been imposed in PoK. The government has also announced a ban on gatherings, rallies, and processions.

Mobile networks and internet services have been suspended in many areas, including Bhimber, Bagh Town, and Mirpur. Hafiz Hamdani, the spokesperson for AAC, informed Dawn News that they have no connection with the violence occurring in the state. He accused AAC’s opponents of orchestrating demonstrations to defame them.

PoK’s Prime Minister said – the government is ready for dialogue to prevent violence

Prime Minister of PoK, Chaudhry Anwar ul-Haq, said, “The government has taken all necessary steps to control violence. We are ready for peaceful negotiations, our doors are always open. However, this should not be seen as the government’s weakness.”

Nana Sahib Abdul Majid Khan stated, “The government has already accepted all demands of the AAC. We have also signed an agreement to bring electricity and fuel subsidies to the 2022 levels. However, AAC has gone back on its agreement.”

Meanwhile, PTI leader Omar Ayub Khan criticized the Shahbaz government for failing to control the situation. PTI stated, “People protesting peacefully should not be subjected to violence. Such policies pose a danger to Pakistan and democracy.”

Human Rights Violations in PoK

Regarding the deteriorating situation in PoK, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has acknowledged continuous violations of human rights there. Even last month, people protested against rising prices.

In many places, people took to the streets and clashed with the police. A kilo of flour now costs 800 Pakistani rupees, whereas it was previously 230 rupees. The price of a roti has reached 25 rupees per piece.

Niyati Rao

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