Kashmiris in Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) look concerned yet united like never before. The reason behind this unity amidst uncertainty is the ongoing public rights movement in the region. The Awami Action Committee on October 2nd issued a ‘charter of demand’ and announced a plan of action against the increasing inflation and the subsequent exploitation by Pakistan. Based on the plan of action, the Jammu and Kashmir Awami Action Committee held a region-wide protest on October 28. The day marks the completion of the third month of boycotting electricity bill payment. Since last three months more than 78 per cent of Kashmiris have not paid the bills and, in fact, floated them into river.
Three months of boycotting electricity bill payment
October 28 protest also shows same pictures across POJK. In Rajmehal Kotli, Kashmiris protested in a unique and resonating way. Native Kashmiris in the region carried out funeral of the electricity bill and chanted slogans against the establishment.
In Rawalkot, thousands of protestors took to the streets holding placard written with the anti-establishment slogans. The protestors hurled slogans calling “sarfaroshi ki tammanna ab hamaare dil me hai, dekhna hai jor kitna baaju-e-qaatil me hai,” a famous poem written against the British Imperialism during Indian independence struggle which means, “the desire for revolution is now in our hearts, let’s see how much strength lies in the arms of the murder (Pakistan)”.
In Tatrinote village in Poonch and Muzaffarabad, the protestors tied their electricity bills to the balloons and left them into the air, to symbolically denounce the Pak sponsored imposition of price hike by the puppet government of POJK.
Kashmiris in POJK protest like never before
Kashmiris in POJK are protesting like never before. Since the past five months, Kashmiris are raising their voice against the abrupt removal of subsidies on basic amenities especially wheat flour. To make things worse, the occupying government also raised the price of electricity in the region. This caused unrest in the Kashmiris as being the electricity surplus region, they had to pay the quadruple prices as compared to production price. This simply meant that the resources of POJK are exploited, and its benefits are reaped by the entire Pakistan but people of POJK.
The situation of Kashmiris is worsening with each passing day. They don’t have enough resources to fulfill their basic needs. And so, after months of protests and sit-ins, they realized the need for a more organized and formal movement, which on September 16, gave rise to Jammu and Kashmir Joint Public Action Committee or Awami Action Committee. The committee issued ‘charter of demands’ to be conveyed to puppet government of POJK and other international organisations including United Nations.
Past protests on the call of Awami Action Committee
The committee also announced a series of protests against the Pak sponsored exploitation of POJK. Following the announcement, the first protest was held on October 5 which saw participation from all walks of society. During the protest, a complete shutdown was observed in the entire POJK, marking the biggest and most expansive protest in the POJK history since its illegal occupation by Pakistan.
During the second protest, the women and children across the POJK protested for the fulfillment of the charter of demands. The women and children protest were held on 10th of October. Following the women and children protest, the student organisations also protested on 17th of October, as per the call of Awami Action Committee. This protest transcended the boundaries of POJK and was observed in various parts of Pakistan including Islamabad and Karachi. One of the demand of the student organization protest was the revival of student unions, which Pakistan has abandoned as it fears the voice of dissent.
Nonetheless, the protest of October 28, made it categorically clear that Kashmiris don’t have an iota of patience to take the malicious Pakistani tactics and that they are firm on their demands. On the other hand, Pakistan which has used the coercion at the start, has also got a clear idea that its terrorizing policies are going to make no difference. As of now, the Awami Action Committee is firmly standing its plank, and it looks like it will continue to do so till its demands are met.