Massive anti-Pakistanprotests have erupted in Muzaffarabad city and other parts of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) as the residents demand an end to Pakistani occupation and strongly oppose the construction of dams in the region.
The protests were led by the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) and its student wing United Kashmir National Students Organisation (UKNSO).
They raised slogans like “Jeevey Kashmir Meri Jaan- Bhaar Main jayea Pakistan” (Long Live Kashmir, Go to hell Pakistan) and Dariyon par Kabza, Namanzoor
Pakistan has dubbed the region as “Free Kashmir” but continues to exploit its resources by building mega-dams and hydropower projects on rivers
like Neelumand Jhelum. Such projects have not only affected the ecology but have limited the resources for the use of local residents. The people in Muzaffarabad are facing acute water shortage after the construction of the Neelum-Jhelumhydropower project.
The youth in the region are also feeling threatened as their jobs are now taken by Chinese workers.
Speaking to ANI, Jamil Maqsood, Former Central Secretary, Foreign Affairs-UKPNP said, “Today, the UNPNP’s student wing held strong protests in Muzaffarabad against the construction of a dam on the River Neelum. Currently, there are two big dam projects underway in Gilgit Baltistan and in PoK. One is the Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project and the other is the Diamer Bhasha dam.”
“For these projects, Pakistan is displacing people. The locals are being forced to leave their homes, their lands. Pakistan is bypassing environmental protection requirements, and all other prerequisites they are obliged to commit to. For this reason, the people of
Kashmir are angry and are protesting on the streets. The UNPNP will always stand with them,” he added.