People in Pakistan administered Kashmir react to protests, demand government's accountability

World Sunday 19/May/2024 08:07 AM
People in Pakistan administered Kashmir react to protests, demand government's accountability

Muzaffarabad: Residents of Pakistan administered Kashmir responded to the protests with a blend of worry and resolve. Those deeply impacted by the unrest emphasized the necessity for a resolution to tackle fundamental grievances.

Intense protests and violence which continued for several days led to the death of three people in Pakistan administered Kashmir. The protesters on Tuesday announced to call off the protests after the Pakistan government accepted their demands and announced a huge relief package.

Locals attributed the escalation of violence during the protests to governmental incompetence, stating that had the government addressed these demands earlier, the protests would not have reached such levels of intensity.

A local resident named Raja Amin articulated on several matters concerning PoJK. He said, "This entire issue revolved around fundamental rights. It wasn't aimed at destabilizing the nation. The entire protest was focused on securing access to essentials such as flour, water, and electricity. The protest aimed solely to emphasize that the United Nations had granted concessions to the PoJK on 48 items, encompassing electricity, wheat, and numerous other necessities."

PoJK Prime Minister Chaudhry Anwar ul Haq had received backlash for his management of the protest, with accusations of mishandling the situation. Raja accused Anwar of deceiving the public and making false commitments.

"Anwar deceived the public on previous occasions and failed to uphold his promises. Despite providing written assurances to fulfil demands, he ultimately reneged on them. When the movement reignited, he mishandled the situation. Therefore, he is responsible for all the chaos" said Raja.

PoJK recently experienced violent protests and clashes, with demonstrators expressing grievances related to governance and rights.

These incidents involved confrontations between protesters and security forces, resulting in deaths, injuries and property damage. The unrest underscored the simmering discontent among residents of PoJK, who have long felt marginalized and voiceless under the region's governance structure. Issues such as political suppression, lack of representation, and restricted access to basic resources have fueled frustration and anger among the populace.

In response to the protests in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif was compelled to urgently announce relief measures, recognizing the shock and urgency of the situation.

On May 13, PM Shehbaz announced a Rs 23 billion subsidy package for the PoJK during a high-level meeting convened concerning the turmoil in the valley.

The price of wheat flour had been reduced to PKR 2000 per 40 kg bag from PKR 3100. In addition, the government also approved a reduction in electricity prices, ARY News reported.