Muzaffarabad: People from all walks of life in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) took to the streets in a region-wide protest against a range of issues they have been grappling with for an extended period.

The protesters, including women, lawyers, and activists, expressed their frustration over government discrimination and oppressive policies. The region has witnessed numerous protests in recent months, with grievances ranging from wheat flour shortages to exorbitant electricity prices.

Faisal Jameel, Leader of Awami Action Committee said, "Initially the protests started in Poonch when people held a sit-in (against the administration) for around four months owing to high prices of wheat flour and after that suddenly the overbilling of electricity started. It further resented the general public leading to massive protests in Muzaffarabad and in the whole of PoK".

He added, "Awami Action Committee actively participated in the movement and the protests happening today are the outcome of that movement. This movement will continue (against the administration) until our demands are met".

Working women, who have borne the brunt of these issues, joined the protest. Female lawyers gathered outside the Central Press Club in Muzaffarabad to denounce the injustices faced by POK residents.

In response to the protests, the government has initiated a crackdown, conducting house searches and filing FIRs against those demanding their rights.

The protesters are undeterred, determined to continue their struggle for justice.

A lawyer based in Muzaffarabad said, "What kind of justice is this! When someone asks for his/her rights then they (the administration) register FIRs against them, raid their homes! Trample upon their children! What kind of administration is it! What kind of justice is this! All the administrators should listen to us with their ears wide open! Our protests are for our reasonable rights! Our protests are for our ownership of our resources.

He added, "We have reasonable demands, we should be given wheat flour and electricity at (affordable) cost. We should get our electricity generated out of our resources. Is it a crime to raise our voice for our rights!"

Another lawyer protester said, "You can see that the women of Muzaffarabad have taken to the streets. I think this is the first time that women in such a large number have come out for their rights, for their children's rights. It is the protest against the violation of women's houses and arrests made by the police forces. What kind of crime we have committed! Is raising voices for our rights a crime? Is asking for electricity a crime? Is it a crime to ask for wheat flour to feed our children!"

Women protesters also expressed solidarity with those arrested for speaking out against the government's policies, highlighting the harsh crackdown launched against dissenters.

The people of PoK have long endured discrimination and second-class treatment.

Despite past oppression, they remain resolute in their demands this time, vowing not to back down under any circumstances.