Kashmiris across ten districts of Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir (POJK) marked October 5, 2023 by observing shutter down and chakka-jaam (total shutdown) against Pakistani misrule and illegal occupation. Alongside this massive bandh the protest rallies were also taken out at every district in the region.
The protests are being held after the Joint Public Action Committee issued a charter of demands comprising of free electricity, resumption of subsidies on wheat flour, elimination of taxes and end of the privileges for Pakistani elite. Since months, people of POJK have been agitated and have been protesting over these issues and have taken complete shutter down protests. However, it is the first protest after a communique regarding the series of protests was issued by Joint Public Action Committee.
The effects of the strike are visible in the entire region, especially, Muzaffarabad, Rawalkot and Neelam Valley. People of POJK have followed the call proactively and almost all the districts are completely shut. The only presence that is on the streets is lakhs of protestors across POJK, who are agitating against the exploitation and oppression of the occupying government.
In Kotli, one of the various protest rallies saw women at the front. In Muzaffarabad, various protest rallies were organized amidst the chakka- jaam (complete shutdown) and shutter down protest, in which the protestors raised slogans against Pakistani establishment. Later, all the protest rallies in the district marched towards Gilani Chowk and raised their concerns in a unified voice.
Similarly, in Rawalakot, the protestors in large numbers raised black flags as a symbol of resistance to the occupying government. The protestors demanded free electricity and subsidized wheat flour along with other basic amenities that they are deprived from.
The same kind of pictures are visible in the entire region of POJK. This overwhelming protest under the aegis of Awami Action Committee is one of the most impactful and expansive protest in the history of POJK.
Meanwhile, people in Mirpur district also observed complete shutdown and participated in protest rallies. During one such rally, the protestors echoed “Resources ours Control yours.. Unacceptable Unacceptable”
The masses in POJK are fed up of the exploitative tactics and policies of the occupying Pakistani establishment, which works under the influence of Pakistan. People in POJK neither get wheat flour nor electricity. Above all, the electricity tariffs have also been increased dramatically by the government leading to more crisis. This has aroused resentment among Kashmiris and so they have decided to resist the occupying Pakistani establishment.
Crackdown on Protests
Feared by the awakened voices of POJK, now the Pakistan’s puppet POJK government has initiated crackdown on the peaceful protestors. The regime that facilitates terrorists has for long used its coercive powers against the right seeking innocent individual. Unfortunately, similar thing is happening again in POJK. However, the puppet government and Pakistan, both should understand that this is just the beginning. As this was the first protest that was called by the Awami Action Committee. Just after five days, on 10th of October, another protest with participation of women and children will be held. Later on October 17th, various student organisations will hold similar type of rallies.
The committee through its communique has precisely elucidated that involvement of Pakistan Army will be perceived as external threat and any baseless cases protestors or crackdown on demonstrations will eventually lead to further expansion of movement and afresh jail bharo (fill the jails) movement.