Women rise in protest in Pak-occupied Jammu & Kashmir against Paki exploitation

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POJK women protest
POJK women protest (Photo; News Intervention)

Following the call of Awami Action Committee, women and children across Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) have started protest demonstrations against the exploitative regime of Pakistan and its puppet government in POJK.

The ongoing protest is a part of a series of protests announced by Awami Action Committee against the indiscriminate hikes in the electricity prices and the termination of subsidies on wheat flour.

Widespread protest of POJK women

In one such protest rally in Kotli, hundreds of Kashmiri women raised slogans for their demands and against the government. They also referred to the Prime Minister of occupying government as useless. The protesting POJK women echoed, “na ahal hukumat, hay..hay..; nalayak hukumat, hay..hay..; chor hukumat, hay..hay..” (curse to incompetent government, curse to useless government, curse to thieving government).

Furthermore, in a unified voice, hundreds of POJK women shouted “dam humare kabza tumhara, namanzur..namanzur….; Bijli humari kabza tumhara, namanzur..namanzur…; Vasail humaare kabza tumhara, namanzur….namanzur… (Dam ours encroachment yours, unacceptable..unacceptable; Electricity our encroachment yours, unacceptable…unacceptable…; resources ours encroachment yours, unacceptable…unacceptable…).

Amidst the rising voices they also demanded the resignation of the PM of the puppet government.

Similar protests were recorded in other parts of POJK including Bagh, Neelam Valley, Hajira, Rawalkot among others. The ongoing protest under the aegis of Awami Action Committee is the biggest and most widespread protest in the history of POJK. POJK has been suppressed and deprived of their right to live with dignity for the past 75 years but has never resisted in such an unprecedented way. The message is loud and clear that the Kashmiris have now understood the true intentions of Pakistan and they are not going to kneel down in front of this imperialist establishment.  

Exploitation without accountability

Notably, after Pakistan faced an economic meltdown, it shred all of its financial burden on the occupied territories. Since the past few months, POJK is facing long and abrupt power cuts and paying high electricity prices. Extra tariffs have been imposed to benefit the people in Pakistan. Interestingly, POJK is facing these issues when it generates approximately 3000 megawatts of electricity, while it uses merely 400 MW. Simply put, POJK produces electricity which is wholly transmitted to Pakistan. In turn, Pakistan exhausts this POJK’s electricity indiscriminately and sells the remaining electricity back to POJK on a heavy price, roughly 3-4 times the actual cost. Apparently, it is the blatant exploitation of the POJK resources on the hands of Pakistan while leaving the inhabitants deprived of the benefits.  

This becomes even more shocking to note that those sitting on the dominant positions in occupying government and entire Pakistan are using the electricity and other POJK resources free of cost and without any accountability. Frustrated and agitated, 78 per cent of the Kashmiris have now boycotted to pay the bills since more than two months.

This imperialistic approach of Pakistan towards the occupied territory is not just limited to electricity, its implications also transcends to other commodities too. The most controversial among them is wheat flour. Flour is the most basic commodity needed for the survival. But the atrocious establishment has relinquished the subsidy that the people of POJK are entitled to get and hence they are paying a hefty price for it. This problem has persisted since a long time. Above all, the wheat flour bags that they are getting, are also of the worst quality. A couple of months ago, reports emerged from POGB where the protesting Kashmiri women claimed that the 40 kg flour bag contains more waste than flour.

The exploitation and subversion of Kashmiris with impunity has created widespread unrest among the masses. And hence they are protesting against the occupying government. On October 3, Awami Action Committee issued a communique calling for protests. In line with that, a complete shutdown was observed across POJK on October 5, marking the biggest protest in the history of POJK. In this series of protests, the Awami Action Committee had already called for the next protest by the student organisations across POJK on 17 October. The demands of the Kashmiris is clear and just- The resources of Kashmiris does not belong to Pakistan.

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