Muzaffarabad: Massive protests and a torch rally was held in Muzaffarabad city of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on Monday night to oppose the mega-dams to be constructed by Chinese firms on Neelum-Jhelum River.
The protesters hailing from ”Darya Bachao, Muzaffarabad Bachao” (Save River, Save Muzaffarabad) Committee” chanted slogans like “Neelum-Jhelum behne do, humein zinda rehne do” (let the Neelum and Jhelum rivers flow, let us live).
The rally was attended by over a thousand people from the city and other parts of PoK.
Recently, Pakistan and China signed agreements to construct Azad Pattan and Kohala Hydropower Projects in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Azad Pattan Hydel Power Project of 700.7 megawatts of electricity as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was signed on July 6, 2020. The $1.54 billion projects will be sponsored by the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC).
The Kohala Hydroelectric Power Project which will be built on Jhelum River is roughly 7 km upstream of Azad Pattan Bridge in the Sudhanoti District of PoK and 90 km from Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan.
The project expected to be completed by the year 2026 will be sponsored by China Three Gorges Corporation, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Silk Road Fund.
What irks locals is high Chinese presence in the area, massive construction of dams, and river diversions threatening their very existence.
Pakistan and China are jointly plundering the natural resources of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan in the wake of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The resentment in the occupied territories is high against Pakistan and China.