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Clashes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir: Police officer killed, over 100 injured

JAAC has been pushing for the elimination of the elite class's privileges, the provision of energy based on the cost of hydropower generation in the area, and subsidised wheat flour.

Written by  Annesha Barua -- May 12th 2024 04:22 PM
Clashes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir: Police officer killed, over 100 injured

Clashes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir: Police officer killed, over 100 injured

PTC News Desk: According to media sources on Sunday, there were violent battles between security forces and protestors in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) who were protesting against the high prices of wheat flour and power. One police officer was killed and over 100 people were injured, most of whom were policemen.

Saturday saw fighting in the contested area between police and rights movement activists as there was a nationwide wheel-jam and shutdown strike, according to the Dawn daily.


SSP Mirpur Sub-inspector Adnan Qureshi, who was deployed with other police officers to stop a rally for Muzaffarabad via Kotli and Poonch districts under the banner of the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC), died from a gunshot wound to the chest in Islamgarh town, according to Kamran Ali, Dawn.com.

The JAAC, which is led by traders in the majority of the state, has been pushing for the elimination of the elite class's privileges as well as the provision of energy based on the cost of hydropower generation in the area and subsidised wheat flour.

Serious skirmishes broke out on Wednesday and Thursday after police raids at the homes of some 70 JAAC activists and their relatives in the Muzaffarabad and Mirpur divisions resulted in their detention. The committee then declared a strike for Friday, one day before its scheduled lengthy march.

Violent confrontations broke out between police and protesters in various parts of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan, during a devastating strike.

In addition to making more arrests, authorities blocked off roads leading to Muzaffarabad with earthen mounds in an effort to stop people from traveling to the state capital.

Witnesses reported seeing entire strikes in the Poonch and Muzaffarabad divisions.

To put an end to the large-scale protests, the regional government has called for a significant police presence. 

At least one police officer and a young child were hurt, according to SSP Yasin Baig, when police in some neighborhoods used aerial shooting and tear gas after being attacked with stones and bottles by demonstrators.

According to Kotli SSP Mir Muhammad Abid, "attacks by miscreants under the guise of protest" resulted in at least 78 police officers being hurt throughout the district.

According to the SSP, two revenue department employees and 59 police officers—including Deputy Superintendent of Police Ilyas Janjua—were hurt in Rehaan Galli, while 19 more officers were hurt in Sehnsa Baroiyan.

In addition to the 59 injured police officers, nine injured protestors were also sent to the District Headquarters Hospital in Kotli for treatment, according to a news release from the hospital.

According to SSP Abid, there were also reported injuries among police officials in Doliya Jattan.

According to Geo News, 29 protestors were hurt in all during the altercations.

Hafeez Hamdani, a JAAC spokesman, said that there was no connection between violence and the action committee.

"It appears that these individuals have been deliberately inserted into the protestor ranks in order to defame a movement that only seeks the rightful rights of the people," he remarked.

Abdul Majid Khan, the PoK Finance Minister, said at a press conference that the government had shown "maximum restraint" and was prepared for negotiations to amicably resolve any difficult issues.

"Dialogue is the only method to overcome conflicts, and we are always willing to negotiate. However, he clarified that the offer should not be interpreted as a sign of the government's weakness.

After the government agreed to all of the action committee's demands, he said, an agreement was signed by the committee and government negotiators that included freezing the electricity tariff at June 2022 levels and providing a targeted subsidy on flour. However, the committee later broke from the agreement and declared a protest over additional demands.

Following violent protests in Mirpur that left one officer dead and over 70 injured, Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, the so-called prime minister of Pok, declared that the administration was prepared to provide assistance with regard to the rates of wheat flour and power.

Haq was cited by Geo News as saying, "The government held negotiations with the Awami Action Committee and we reached an agreement which we are determined to implement."


- With inputs from agencies

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