protest in pakistan-occupied kashmir

“Pakistan is perturbed over the state of affairs but the most astonishing thing I got to hear, is that the people residing near the line of control in PoK are raising slogans asking Modi to get them freedom from Pakistan’s illegal occupation and saving their souls that are dying from hunger.”

– Shabbir Choudhry, ACTIVIST, PoK

PoK residents appeal for India’s help, ask PM Narendra Modi to free us from Pakistan, says Kashmiri Activist Shabbir Choudhry. 

Protesters criticized Pakistan’s double standards and highlighted the dire conditions faced by residents in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan, including soaring inflation, wheat shortages, and power outages. Slogans like “Chalo, Chalo Kargil Chalo” are being chanted by the protesters. Besides this slogan, the demand to merge with India can be heard very clearly and loudly. 

 Despite ongoing unrest, Islamabad has failed to address these issues, with elected officials having little influence on policymaking and fundamental rights being denied to the people.

Why People in POK are Demanding a Merger with India?

Political activists in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) took to the streets to denounce Pakistani atrocities and the suppression of rights in occupied territories, coinciding with Islamabad’s observance of ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ on February 5th.

The Reasons For Protest in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir

If the reason has to be summed up in one line then, you can say Pakistan considers POK as its part but not the people residing in the region. Because:

  1. People are paying high electricity bills despite producing the maximum electricity in the region.
  1. Pakistan shamelessly exploits the natural resources of the region.
  1.  Blasphemy Law due to which they are targeting PoK’s Shia community They are. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Skardu- a city in Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan to protest against the Pakistani government demanding the immediate release of top Shia cleric Agha Bagir Al-Hussaini.

Blasphemy Law 

The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are a set of laws that aim to prohibit and penalize blasphemy against Islam and its Prophet Muhammad. These laws are found primarily in Sections 295 and 298 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Here’s an explanation of these laws:

Section 295-A: It states that whoever, with deliberate intent, insults the religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment or a fine, or both.

Section 295-B: This section specifically addresses defiling the Holy Quran. 

Section 295-C: It states that whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to a fine.

Section 298: This section deals with uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person. It criminalizes certain acts or speech that are intended to offend the religious beliefs of any individual or group.

Critics of these laws argue that they are often misused to settle personal scores, target religious minorities, or silence dissent. There have been numerous cases where individuals, often from minority religious communities, have been accused of blasphemy and subjected to violence, imprisonment, or even extrajudicial killings. 

Moreover, the severity of punishments under these laws, including the death penalty, has drawn international condemnation for human rights violations and calls for their reform. However, proponents argue that these laws are necessary to protect the religious sentiments of the majority Muslim population in Pakistan.

On 31st August 2023, a complete shutterdown strike was organised in the PoK region. 

According to protesters, if the government causes us suffering, we will cause twice as much difficulty for them. They are warning of civil war and demanding security. 

Would Pakistan have been better off as a part of a United India? 

This is the question the people of Pakistan are asking themselves. 

Why not?

India hosted world leaders for G20 and displayed its growing significance on a global stage, because of this there was a meltdown in cash-strapped Pakistan. 

For a moment, forget about POK, just look at what’s happening in Pakistan. 

The country is in ICU due to increasing debt burdens, inflation which stands at 31.5% and political instability. Fuel prices and basic needs have been shot up to a very high level. Currency is in free fall and the forex reserve is about to disappear. There has been a shortage of even basic medicines. Unemployment has been on a steady rise and we haven’t even begun to discuss the terrorism problem in Pakistan.

By thewonk