Escalating Tensions in POK Amid Protests Over Electricity Tax

Tensions in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir

Islamabad: In the disputed region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the atmosphere is charged with dissent as residents vehemently oppose the imposition of what they deem an unjust tax on electricity bills. The tax, introduced by the Shahbaz government, has sparked widespread protests, with citizens taking to the streets in a show of defiance. The unrest has escalated to the point where protestors have resorted to stone-pelting directed at the Pakistani army, prompting the police to discharge firearms into the air in an attempt to quell the agitation. Despite these measures, the administration struggles to regain control.

The situation took a grave turn in Muzaffarabad, PoK’s capital, where a strike led to the tragic death of a Pakistani police officer during a clash between security forces and protestors. The officer, identified as Sub-Inspector Adnan Qureshi, was fatally shot in the chest in Islamgarh city. The incident has only intensified the strife, with businesses shuttering and daily life coming to a halt as a result of the ongoing protests and shutdown strike.

In response to the escalating conflict, a ‘chakka-jam’ strike was organized, effectively bringing Muzaffarabad to a standstill. The police’s use of tear gas has reportedly affected not only the protestors but also residents within their homes.

Tensions in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir

The Dawn newspaper reports that the protests have spread across various districts in PoK, including Samhani, Sehansa, Mirpur, Rawalkot, Khuiratta, Tattapani, and Hattian Bala. In an effort to manage the situation, the government has enacted Section 144 across PoK and declared a two-day holiday for all educational institutions. Nonetheless, the people’s resolve remains unshaken, with thousands continuing to protest in the streets, signaling a deep-rooted discontent with the current state of affairs.