Massive clashes rock PoK as hundreds of protesters clash with security forces
Slogans of “Azadi” (freedom) could be heard as angry people marched on the streets.

at 12:05 am
Protests in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

New Delhi/Muzaffarabad, May 12: Massive protests rocked Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), especially capital Muzaffarabad, as people took to the streets against heavy taxation, high inflation and electricity shortages, and clashed with security forces, leading to the death of one officer while scores of other people were injured. Slogans of “Azadi” (freedom) could be heard as angry people marched on the streets.

The protests are being spearheaded by the Joint Awami Action Committee, which called for a shutter down and wheel-jam strike in Muzaffarabad on Friday. Dozens of leaders and members of the Action Committee have been arrested in the clashes with security forces.

Police also resorted to teargas shelling and firing bullets in the air to curtail the protests.

According to reports, clashes broke out between law enforcement agencies and protesters in many areas of PoK, besides Muzaffarabad,

The administration has deployed the Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Corps to crush the protests.

The clashes erupted when the police resorted to tear gas shelling around peoples’ homes and mosques. This led to the strike spilling over to other parts of PoK such as Samahni, Sehansa, Mirpur, Rawalakot, Khuiratta, Tattapani, and Hattian Bala.

On Saturday, markets, schools and offices remained closed for the second straight day in Mirpur, following the violence in Muzaffarabad.

According to reports, nearly 20 police and security personnel suffered injuries in the clashes on Saturday.

Several videos and pictures have been doing the rounds of social media, showing protesters manhandling the security personnel in PoK.

Pakistani journalist Ahmad Farhad shared a video that showed crowds chanting slogans like “‘Pakistan se lain ge Azadi’.

In a post on X, Farhad said that thousands of protesters are marching towards Muzaffarabad, and he trashed all claims of an agreement having been worked out with the federal government. He said that vehicles of the Pakistani Rangers left Murree for Muzaffarabad. “Negotiations have not been successful so far. The long march continues. Do not listen to any rumour until three basic demands are approved and notification is made.

“Supply of electricity at cost of production

“Gilgit-Baltistan style flour supply

“Immediate end to elite privileges” that leaders of the Public Action Committee are demanding, he posted.

Pakistanis have been reeling under crushing inflation, made worse by the stringent conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund that has approved a $3-billion financial assistance package to the cash-strapped nation. Islamabad has promised the international lender that it will hike electricity and petrol prices, in keeping with the terms of the lender. This has incensed the people to take to the streets.