IT appears that the May 9 anarchist group is working against efforts to promote peace in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). After the government’s acceptance of the demands tabled by the Joint Awami Action Committee (JAAC), as well as the decision to reduce electricity tariff and flour prices, and to withdraw the paramilitary force from the region, many wanted the JAAC to call off its protest, but it did not do that. Was there something else on the agenda?

Instead of reciprocating these positive steps, the nefarious elements opposed to peace in AJK attacked law-enforcement personnel and set fire to their vehicles, leaving many injured. In self-defence, the law-enforcement agencies then had to resort to teargas shelling and aerial firing, which resulted in unfortunate casualties.

Although the JAAC top leadership had repeatedly called for limiting all its activities to peaceful protests, it failed to restrain the disruptive faction within. The approach of May 9 anarchists, as we now know, is all about fomenting discord between law-enforcement agencies and the public. That mentality, more than anything else, has to be taken care of.

While the incident and its many tragic consequences have passed, fundamental questions remain unanswered, necessi- tating resolution to prevent similar episodes in the future. The rogue elements made unsuccessful attempts to steer the protest towards advocating for an ‘independent Kashmir’, a direction that does not reflect the desire of the majority of the AJK people. The fate of Kashmir is undeniably linked with Pakistan.

Abdul Basit Alvi
Muzaffarabad

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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