Washington: Massive protests are expected in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Saturday.
The New York Times on September 19 had reported that the residents “have called for a massive protest on border with India on Saturday and in early October that is expected to be the biggest demonstrations yet.”
The report had highlighted that the call for independence within PoK has been growing. It said that pro-independence movements are now attracting thousands of protesters.
These protests were barely covered in Pakistani media and mobile phone and internet were cut off for a while in the area. One military general dismissed the demonstrators as “Indian agents.”
This comes ahead of the scheduled UNGA session where both the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers are scheduled to speak. This also comes in the wake of India decision to do away with Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Even as Pakistan continues to make attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue despite rebuffs, it has put curbs on residents of PoK who wants an end to its control over the territory.
Pakistan’s message to the residents in PoK has been very clear: No talk of independence will be allowed, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
A few NYT journalists who were granted rare access to the region in recent days found a toughening Pakistani security response to a growing pro-independence movement there.
Residents were quoted as saying that Pakistan’s domination over the occupied territories has increased over the years especially after the scope of dialogue between the two countries came down.
Quoting the locals of the area, the NYT reported that the Pakistani crackdown also has another focus.
As outrage over India’s move to end Kashmir’s previously accorded (temporary) constitutional status has galvanised militants, Pakistani officials fear they could face international sanctions if they don’t rein in the armed groups.
On August 5, the Government of India had announced the decision to abrogate Article 370 of the constitution which gave special status to Jammu Kashmir.
Pakistan and its leaders have since then resorted to cheap rhetoric against India with many threatening of war. It also downgraded its diplomatic relations with India.
India on its part has maintained that the issue is strictly internal to India.