Updated May 13th, 2024 at 22:31 IST

Pakistani Flag Brought Down, Internet Snapped as PoK Uprising Cripples Pakistan

Visuals from the ground accessed by Republic showed complete mayhem as massive protests broke out in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir against the Pakistani Army.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Visuals from the ground accessed by Republic showed complete mayhem as massive protests broke out in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir against the Pakistani Army. | Image:Republic Digital
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Islamabad: In a huge uprising against the Pakistan Army in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the country's flag was on Monday brought down as agitators reached the Assembly amid reports of Islamabad snapping the internet and cops resorting to teargas late evening in what appeared to be a major escalation of the already-tense situation in the occupied region.

Visuals from the ground accessed by Republic showed complete mayhem as massive protests broke out in PoK against Pakistani Army, leading to clashes and chaos as the total strike against high prices of wheat flour and inflated electricity bills and taxes entered its fourth day on Monday.

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Clashes first broke out between the police and activists of a rights movement in the disputed region on Saturday, leaving at least one police officer dead and injuring over 100 others. 

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A complete strike has since been observed in the unrest-hit region, bringing life to a standstill.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who said he was "deeply concerned" about the situation, approved Rs 23 billion for immediate release to the region after the negotiations between the protesters and the regional government ended in a deadlock.

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The unprecedented protests forced PM Sharif to chair a special meeting on Monday which was attended by Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, local ministers, and top political leadership, news agency PTI reported, citing the PM’s Office.

The protesters – led by the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) – have been seeking the provision of electricity as per hydropower generation cost in the region, subsidised wheat flour and an end to the privileges of the elite class.

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A long march led by the JAAC left for Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, on Monday as the wheel-jam strike entered its fourth day.

The movement announced its march on Muzaffarabad after the talks between the JAAC core committee and Chief Secretary of the region Dawood Bareach ended in a stalemate.

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A protest leader from Rawalakot accused the government of resorting to evasive tactics.

Protestors have already staged sit-ins, closing Kohala–Muzaffarabad Road at several locations, the Dawn newspaper reported.

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Heavy contingents of police have been deployed at roundabouts and other sensitive locations even as markets, trade centres and educational institutes remain closed, and transport remains suspended, according to Pakistani media reports.

President Asif Ali Zardari, meanwhile, urged all the stakeholders to exercise restraint and resolve the issues through dialogue and mutual consultation.

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Stressing that the political parties, state institutions and the people of the region should act responsibly so that hostile elements could not exploit the situation, Zardari reportedly said the demands of the people in the region should be addressed as per law, adding that he would take up their grievances with Prime Minister Sharif to find a way out of the current situation.

On May 9 and 10, around 70 activists were arrested by the police in an attempt to prevent a long march, triggering serious clashes in Dadyal and a “shutter-down strike” call, Dawn reported.

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Published May 13th, 2024 at 22:20 IST