Tensions Escalate in PoK with Protests and Violent Clashes

Tensions Escalate in PoK with Protests and Violent Clashes

A wave of protests and violent clashes has swept through the region of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), which has been witnessing increasing instability. The disturbances began in the Dadyal area, where protesters gathered to demonstrate against unchecked inflation and power cuts. During this demonstration, violent clashes erupted between protesters and police/military forces in various cities of the region, resulting in several protesters being injured by batons and tear gas, including a university student who lost her life due to tear gas. The local government implemented Section 144 throughout the area and declared holidays in all educational institutions on May 10 and 11. 

Political activist Amjad Ayub Mirza vehemently denounced the violence against peaceful protesters in PoK, while reporting the tragic death of a student during the clashes in Dadyal. Mirza accused the government of using violence as a tactic to suppress the protests and impose restrictions such as Section 144 and curfews, ahead of a major march planned for May 11 in Muzaffarabad. Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Awami Action Committee (JAAC) announced an indefinite strike, blocking highways and closing commercial establishments.

The situation in Muzaffarabad remains volatile, with a lockdown and closure of establishments announced. Protests have occurred in several other cities, including Samahni, Sehansa, Mirpur, Rawalakot, Khuiratta, Tattapani, and Hattian Bala. Surprisingly, protests in Kotli, Bagh, and Muzaffarabad have not been reported due to an ongoing crackdown, during which hundreds of leaders and activists have been arrested or intentional news blackout. The population has expressed outrage against the Pakistani government, highlighting the growing instability and the need for a peaceful resolution to the issues in PoK.