October 2016 News

Several PoK Towns Erupt In Protests Against Terror Camps, Launch Pads

6 October 2016
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Lending credibility to Indian Army's view point on surgical strikes inside Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on September 19, several areas of PoK including its capital city Muzaffarabad have erupted in protests by the people, who were demanding immediate shifting of the militants from their territory on the ground that they (the militants) posed grave security threats to the people especially the women. Massive protests were today reported from Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Gilgit, Chinari, Neelum Valley, Diamer and surrounding areas in PoK, where people including some political leaders, human rights activists and representatives of social organizations, apart from the common men, many of them women, marched in streets of their towns shouting slogans against Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharief for making PoK 'a hub of militants' by stationing large number of militants at launching pads along Line of Control (LoC) with Jammu and Kashmir and demanding that they should be shifted immediately. Voicing concern over mushrooming of terror camps, launching pads and activities of terrorists within PoK, the people pointed out that the Indian Army has already carried out surgical strikes at four sectors and could conduct more such strikes. Therefore, they said, the Pakistan Government should immediately shift the militants from PoK. Moreover, they were carrying banners, saying these militants were becoming security threat for the people of PoK also especially the women as they keep on moving in local populated areas during the day and shift to training camps or launch pads only during the night. Sources told the Excelsior that massive protests by the PoK people against militants and Pakistan Government have confirmed the Indian surgical strikes inside PoK on September 29 in which nearly 50 militants and nine Pakistan army personnel were killed and many others were left injured. Locals in various cities of PoK told the media there that if the Government and security forces in Pakistan does not take concrete steps to end terror camps operating in PoK, they would intensify their protests. They further threatened that if an end was not brought to the 'no-go' areas in Diamer, Gilgit, Baseen and others, then the locals will have to take the situation into their own hands. Earlier, tensions escalated in PoK on Sunday after residents took to the streets in Kotli to express their anger against the alleged atrocities committed by the Pakistan army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on the local people, who were refusing to support terrorists by giving shelter to them. The agitation was launched against extra-judicial killings, fake encounters and brutalities committed on leaders and activists protesting against Pakistan Government's open support to terrorists. The people in PoK aired their strong resentment saying PoK was fast becoming 'den of terrorists', which was threat for them also. The protests came close on the heels of comments by exiled Baloch leaders hitting out at Pakistan for atrocities by the military in Balochistan. Earlier, US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark C Toner had said that the US was concerned about the 'human rights situation' in PoK and had 'reported it for several years in our Human Rights Report'. In televised speeches, aired by some local news channels in PoK and broadcast by the Radios, residents of Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Chinari, Mirpur, Gilgit, Diamer and various parts of the Neelum Valley said their lives has been made a living hell by the terror training camps as the lawless men, who train here, plunder local villages and molest the women of the area. They said that their region is being used by the ISI to further its proxy war against India. The people of PoK have been demanding the removal of terror camps for years but the State has always turned a deaf ear. 'People are enraged and were seen protesting on Thursday morning. 'If management doesn't end Taliban's terror camps and 'no-go' areas in Diamer, Gilgit, Baseen and others, then we will take direct action,' a local leader of Gilgit, Mohammad Akram Riaz told a local news channel. Residents confirmed that the region is being used as nothing more than a staging post for Pakistan's proxy war against India. PoK leaders like Arif Shahid exposed the ISI terror nexus in the region and paid for it with their lives. Shahid has been found on record saying that the 'poor people of Pakistan are being exploited by the ISI to wage a Jihad against India in which only the Pakistan army is interested' Shahid fought tooth and nail against Pakistan's oppression in PoK before he was shot outside his residence in Rawalpindi. The investigation into Shahid's murder is still inconclusive, and there is no closure to the cold-blooded murder so far. The ISI is blamed for conspiring and executing Shahid's murder Earlier, PoK witnessed a series of protests by residents against rigged polls that saw Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), coming to power.