Vigorous clashes between police and protesters, Indian tricolour flying high in PoK

Muzaffarabad: Jammu Kashmir Awami Action Committee (JAAC) has rebuffed the Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) government's offer of a 50 per cent reduction in electricity prices per unit, insisting on rates aligned with hydropower generation costs, as reported by ARY News.

According to sources, the government proposed a 50 per cent decrease in electricity rates per unit, a proposal promptly dismissed by the Kashmir action committee. They assert that consumers should be charged based on the production cost of hydropower in PoJK.

Simultaneously, the government is gearing up to subsidise flour prices. Nevertheless, the Public Action Committee has declared a long march from Rawalakot to Muzaffarabad, rejecting the government's stance on the matter.

The protesters plan to halt in Kotli overnight during the long march. Committee member Umar Nazeer criticized the government's lack of seriousness regarding their demands.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that the PoJK government had agreed to all demands of the Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) following negotiations between the JAAC delegation and the territory's Chief Secretary at the residence of the Rawalakot Commissioner.

Sources indicate that the government has also agreed to the committee's demand for flour subsidies and to rescind the electricity bill hikes.

Violent clashes erupted between police and activists of a rights movement in PoJK amid a wheel-jam and shutter-down strike across the territory. The clashes resulted in the death of at least one police official and injuries to several others.

Sub-inspector Adnan Qureshi succumbed to a gunshot wound in the chest in Islamgarh, where he was deployed to quell a rally for Muzaffarabad under the banner of the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC).

The JAAC, led by traders in most parts of the state, has been advocating for electricity pricing aligned with hydropower generation costs in PoJK, subsidised wheat flour, and an end to elite-class privileges.

Violent protesters vandalised multiple vehicles, including a magistrate's car, on the Poonch-Kotli road. Additionally, markets, trade centres, offices, schools, and restaurants remained closed across PoJK, ARY News reported.

Amid a resumption of the march in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK), President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made pledges to address the 'genuine demands' of the protesters. However, despite efforts, an agreement between the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee and the PoJK government remained elusive, with the protest movement pressing forward with its march on Muzaffarabad, Dawn reported.

Following clashes that resulted in the death of a policeman, relative calm settled over the region, though business centers remained shuttered and public transport suspended in Muzaffarabad and Poonch divisions. Mirpur saw a partial strike, signaling the depth of sentiment driving the protests.

The impasse persisted even after talks between the JAAC core committee and PoJK Chief Secretary Dawood Bareach ended without progress in Rawalakot. A protester from Rawalakot accused the government of employing evasive tactics, exacerbating tensions further, as reported by Dawn.

Participants in the discussions included figures from various regions, including Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Kotli, and Bagh. However, hopes for a breakthrough were dashed, as one participant, Sardar Umar Nazir Kashmiri, lamented the lack of tangible outcomes, accusing the government of deception and delay.

This report is auto-generated from a syndicated feed