Young Bites. Dated: 6/26/2024 11:49:06 AM


VIJAY GUPTA JAMMU, JUNE 25 Pa k i s t a n - o c c u p i e d Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) remains on edge as numerous civilians who participated in protests against the Pakistan Army and government in April-May have gone missing. Their families and local residents are demanding that authorities provide information about the missing individuals. This issue has garnered significant attention due to the alleged involvement of security forces and the perceived lack of transparency in investigations. As per the activists, student leaders have cautioned that if their demands are not met, they will organize a prolonged march from Kotli to Muzaffarabad. Over the past few months, the number of reported missing persons in PoJK has steadily increased, alarming local communities and human rights organizations. The families of the missing individuals have been vocal in their demands for answers and accountability. Pakistan government has faced severe criticism for its handling of the crisis, with accusations of inadequate investigation and reluctance to confront security forces implicated in the disappearances. Calls for an independent inquiry have intensified amid growing mistrust in official investigations. The situation escalated dramatically on May 11, when violent clashes broke out in PoJK between protestors from the Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC) and police and Pakistan Rangers in Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, and Kotli. The protests were initially triggered by rising wheat flour prices and high electricity tariffs, but they quickly expanded to include a range of grievances against the government and security forces. JAAC, a coalition of local civil society groups, has been at the forefront of the protests, highlighting issues such as economic hardship, political repression, and human rights abuses. The demonstrations have drawn large crowds, reflecting widespread discontent in the region. In response to the protests, security forces used excessive force, including tear gas and rubber bullets, to disperse the crowds. This has led to numerous injuries and, according to local reports, several deaths. The crackdown has further fueled anger and resentment among the local population. The families of the missing individuals have been relentless in their quest for justice. They have staged sit-ins, held press conferences, and appealed to international human rights organizations to intervene. Despite their efforts, the local government has been slow to respond, leading to accusations of complicity in the disappearances. Human rights organizations have condemned the actions of the security forces and called for immediate and transparent investigations into the missing persons' cases. They argue that the disappearances constitute a serious violation of human rights and demand accountability from those responsible. The situation in PoJK highlights the broader issues of governance and human rights in the region. The Pakistani government's control over the area has long been a contentious issue, with local residents frequently voicing their dissatisfaction with the administration. The recent protests and subsequent disappearances have brought these issues to the forefront, drawing international attention to the plight of the people in PoJK. As tensions continue to rise, the potential for further unrest remains high. The local government faces increasing pressure to address the concerns of the protesters and provide answers about the missing individuals. Failure to do so could lead to more widespread protests and further destabilize the region. The international community has a critical role to play in this crisis. By shining a light on the human rights abuses in PoJK and calling for independent investigations, the global community can help to ensure that the voices of the people in the region are heard and that justice is served for the missing individuals and their families.


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