by Farooq Ganderbali
Slowly but steadily the Kashmir region under Pakistan occupation is becoming a happening place for anti-Pak activities, where the protesters come with clear voices against Islamabad in repeated times. Most recent one on November 18, 2018 was at Bagh, where the activists bluntly asked Pakistan to end its illegal occupation over Kashmir. For reasons best known to nearly 4.5 million residents of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), they have started raising voices against Islamabad’s misdeeds.
The hilly region has started witnessing repeated anti-Pakistan activities in the recent past. Otherwise, for millions of people living in Jammu and Kashmir, the PoK looks like a province of Pakistan and they presume that the residents of PoK happily follow any direction from Pakistan of their proximity to the religion. PoK has no visible Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Christian population.
Slowly the myth has started losing its ground. Many recent protest-demonstrations in PoK’s capital city of Muzaffarabad along with few other towns against Islamabad have shown the growing anxieties of the locals. The PoK media, mostly in Urdu language, highlights the people’s angers against the Islamabad regime, even the Pakistan’s mainstream media continues preferring to ignore those demonstrations.
The latest demonstration, organized by the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), at Bagh locality of PoK, reflected concerns of the participants over environmental issues. They unanimously protested against the construction of dams and other projects in PoK and also in Gilgit-Baltistan region. The protest rally ended in demanding freedom from forceful & illegal occupation of Pakistan in both the regions.
Some demands, raised by the protesters through slogans and banners, included preventing the intervention over Neelum-Jhelum river (also known as Kishan Ganga) in PoK, construction of Diamer-Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan, functioning of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, under which a bus service connecting Lahore with Kashgar in western China through Khunjerab Pass has already been launched.
Earlier on October 25, exiled political activists from PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan demonstrated in front of the European Parliament in Brussels protesting against the misuse of natural resources in their homelands and continued brutalities over locals by the Pakistani military personnel. It was predeceased by a series of protests in Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Kotli, Gilgit, Rawalpindi etc on October 22 as a black day.
One may recall here that Pak military personnel, who dressed as tribal people invaded Jammu & Kashmir on October 22, 1947. The invaders massacred local Kashmiri people, destroyed properties and even abused the women. After occupying large parts of northern Jammu & Kashmir, they approached Srinagar. With no options left, the then king of Jammu & Kashmir, Maharaj Hari Singh, asked for India’s help. Accordingly, the king signed an agreement with New Delhi on October 26 and later Indian forces entered into Kashmir. But Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK remained under the occupation of Pakistan.
Recently, a section of PoK residents in Kotli town demonstrated against the government in Muzaffarabad demanding proper medical care in the hospitals. Similarly, many people in Bagh urged the authority for improving the education scenario. In the first look, it may emerge as a protest against the local government, but in reality, the grievances were meant for Islamabad.
by Farooq Ganderbali