Massive protests erupted across Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) on January 13 as protesters burnt police check posts and blocked bridges connecting POK with Pakistan. The immediate trigger for these impromptu protests was the huge price hike of food grains especially wheat flour that instigated an already restive Kashmir population that is now fed up with Pakistani misrule in POK.
Over the last one month, people of POK have been protesting for their legitimate demands, but the so-called government of “Azad Kashmir” run by Pakistan Army and its intelligence agency ISI continue to suppress these peaceful protests.
“On Wednesday Kashmiris came out in large numbers at Bagh, Rawalakot and other areas of Poonch division to protest against the steep rise in price of wheat flour, sugar and other commodities. People feel that this sudden price hike is tantamount to starving the people,” said Habib-ur-Rehman a local politician in POK.
Protests have been going on for the last one month under the banner of People’s Action Committee but this so-called government refused to reverse its decision to increase taxation on food items. A series of public awareness campaigns were launched and massive protests and rallies were supposed to be held on January 13, however, since the night of January 12 Pakistani forces began abducting and arresting Kashmiri activists and leaders.
The Poonch Division, which is said to be the base of this ongoing revolution in POK has been locked by Pakistan Army and the police since morning of January 13 and Kashmiris were being arrested till the time of writing this news report.
Since January 13 morning there has been a complete strike in Rawalakot, Poonch as people reacted strongly after the police and intelligence personnel cracked down on the protesters. The protesters set a police check post on fire and chased away the police from Patan Bridge, which connects POK with Pakistani territory.
This wave of people’s revolution in POK has been seen after a long time. The Kashmiris in POK are very angry, people are chanting slogans against Pakistan that Kashmir is not part of Pakistan.
Sources within POK police said that people continue to block Patan Bridge in this biting cold where temperature is minus eight (-8 ) degrees Celsius. “The sit-in on the bridge is still on,” said a Kashmiri police constable.
Even the Dhandal Bridge and the Kuala Bridge, which also connect Pakistan with POK have been closed by the people in a sit-in and forces have been pushed towards Pakistan.
The Poonch Action Committee that is leading these protests said that the strike would continue indefinitely. Poonch Action Committee said that protests would continue till the time Pakistan issues a notification that their demands have been resolved.