New lesson – Express Urdu

The public movement in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in recent days has taught the oppressed people the way to justice and the national political parties have also learned a lesson. A few months ago, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan had won economic rights through struggle, but the leaders of the movement in Kashmir included small businessmen, progressive-minded activists and local lawyers and civil society members.

Like other parts of the country, people in Azad Kashmir too were worried about rising electricity bills and huge increase in prices of basic commodities like flour, sugar, pulses and meat etc. . First, an action committee was established in Rawalakot, bordering Indian Kashmir. The action committee first demanded that WAPDA poles are located on people’s lands, so WAPDA should pay the rent. When the demand was not accepted, people uprooted the electric poles from their lands, then in every district. An action committee was formed.

Three people from 10 districts of Pakistani Kashmir were nominated in the Central Joint Public Action Committee, thus the Central Action Committee was established on 30 people. The Awami Action Committee has continuously tried for a year that the governments of Muzaffarabad and Islamabad should realize the need of the 10 points of the Action Committee and provide flour and other commodities to the people at low prices and reduce the electricity rates. The narrative of these leaders was that the electricity is generated from the water of the Kashmir valley by the power plant on the river Jhelum and the electricity is connected to the national grid of Pakistan instead of Kashmir, thus the Kashmiri people are deprived of the electricity generated on their land. are

Flour in Indian-administered Occupied Kashmir is available for Rs 120 per kg in Indian currency for those living below the poverty line and Rs 520 per kg for those living above the poverty line in Indian-administered Kashmir. In Azad Kashmir, 24.9 percent people live below the poverty line. In Occupied Kashmir, the number of people living below the poverty line had decreased to 4.8 percent in 2021.

It was a matter of surprise for the Kashmiris that India’s extremist party BJP abolished the special constitutional status 307 given to Kashmir in the Constitution of the Indian Union and there are continuous reports of police and army operations from there, but still The prices of flour there are very low and the price of flour in Pakistani Kashmir is 150 rupees per kg, so the people have no relief in their homeland. The poor people had to repeatedly convince the Muslim League government established in Muzaffarabad that the ministers of the government were using the public funds ruthlessly. Dozens of ministers and advisers with a large cabinet draw only salaries and perks. Similarly, the number of officers of the Azad Kashmir government is more than one lakh, so the entire infrastructure budget is spent on these officers and other personnel.

Because there was no well-known leader in the public action committee, no leader of the Muslim League-N in the government of Muzaffarabad or any major leader of the People’s Party or the Tehreek-e-Insaaf was with this action committee, therefore secret information was given to the rulers. The officials of the providing agencies did not realize the strength of the people’s power behind the Public Action Committee, so the protest that started from Rawalakot was not taken seriously and attempts were made by the police to disperse the protesting masses.

When the majority of the people quickly marched towards Muzaffarabad, the government formed a negotiating committee consisting of the chief secretary of the province and a bureaucrat. These officers did not have the authority to give any kind of assurance, so the negotiations were fruitless due to the irresponsibility of the government. Tear gas and bullets were fired to disperse the crowd moving towards Muzaffarabad, thus three youths were martyred in this firing and a sub-inspector also lost his life. When the situation got completely out of control, then the government seriously negotiated with the Public Action Committee and the federal government released a special grant of 23 billion rupees and thus an agreement was reached.

Under this agreement, the price of 40 kg of flour was increased to Rs 3 thousand. Electricity rates were reduced by Rs 3 per unit. This relief will be available to those who spend up to Rs 16 per unit. There is a great relief for the people of Kashmir in the current situation of inflation.

It is said that the federal government has accepted the demands of the people due to the special situation of Azad Kashmir. But if these demands of the people were accepted before the use of force, human lives would not have been wasted. Government property would not have been damaged and there would have been no riots, but this struggle of the people of Kashmir has created a new history in resistance movements. It has been proven that the governments in power will not focus on improving the working conditions of the people and the leaders of political parties will not struggle to solve these problems, then autocratic leadership will emerge and political parties will become ineffective.

Currently, the people of the four provinces are worried about the continuous increase in the prices of electricity, gas and petrol products. Farmers in Punjab are worried about non-sale of wheat. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the constant loadshedding and inflation storm has broken the back of the common man. Balochistan is constantly in chaos. There has been a protest against the new immigration policy in the Chaman region, bordering Afghanistan, for 6 months. Thousands of people are protesting for the removal of restrictions on all kinds of trade from Afghanistan and traditionally on both sides of the border.

The fishermen of Gwadar have been protesting for the right to fish freely in the Arabian Sea for the past several years. The protest movement against the disappearance of political workers continues. There are protests against load shedding in Sindh, shortage of gas and continuous increase in electricity and gas rates, shortage of electricity and water in Karachi, street crime and dismissal of workers in industrial establishments.

The leadership of the national political parties is not giving importance to the struggle on the basic issues in the four provinces, thus the anxiety is increasing among the people. The successful struggle of the people of Azad Kashmir has given the people of the four provinces a way to continue to struggle, if only. If the ruling governments and reasonable political leadership do not pay attention, then at some point this struggle of the people of Kashmir can prove to be a savior for the oppressed classes.

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