Chinari (PoK) Security personnel deployed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Sunday stopped Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) activists from marching towards the Line of Control (LoC) in a bid to cross over to “unite Kashmir”.
The JKLF activists were stopped near a place called Jiskool on the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar highway, reports said.
Hundreds of JKLF activists and supporters from various places in PoK had been marching towards LoC for the past three days. On Saturday, they walked 20 km to reach Garhi Dupatta and on Sunday afternoon, reached Chinari, around 50 km away from Muzaffarabad, to a welcome by local residents.
Their plan was to reach Chakothi, three km from the LoC.
However, a large number of police personnel had been deployed between Chinari and Chakothi to stop them, and had blocked the highway with electric poles, barbed wire fences, mud piles and even containers.
Jiskool is located two km ahead on Chinari.
JKLF spokesman Mohammed Rafiq Dar said that their “Azadi March” was a peaceful programme to focus the world’s attention towards the Kashmir issue, and they did not want a clash with local law enforcement officials or to indulge in any violence as this “would help India”.
However, he said that they were adamant on continuing their march.
Dar told Dawn that the protesters, currently staging a sit-in, will wait until Monday for the removal of the containers.
“If they don’t, we will continue to stage a sit-in here and announce our next plan after that,” he said.
On the other side of the barricade, top officials including Divisional Commissioner Chaudhry Imtiaz, Deputy Inspector General Police Sardar Ilyas Khan, and Jhelum Valley Deputy Commissioner Imran Shaheen were present, and have invited leaders of the march for talks.
“We have already humbly informed the organisers that there is a serious threat of Indian shelling. The Indians would not only target the marchers but also the entire civilian population in this area, something they have never hesitated from in the past,” Imtiaz told Dawn over telephone.
He ruled out letting the marchers proceed beyond Jiskool, saying they would come in the range of Indian artillery.
The security personnel had also been deployed on the nearby mountains, expecting a clash with JKLF activists, adamant to marching to the LoC. All schools, colleges and markets in PoK were shut on Saturday.