Protests in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir are a reflection of the region’s discontent with Islamabad’s meddling and lack of authority.

In the picturesque but politically turbulent region of Jammu and Kashmir, history seems to repeat itself with an eerie regularity. This time, however, the unrest, linked to political disillusionment and economic problems, is coming from the Pakistan-occupied parts of the divided region.

In the 1987 Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir, which was widely criticised as rigged, the alliance of Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference and the Congress came to power. As part of a power sector reform, the government raised electricity tariffs, triggering protests in the old city of Srinagar in which four people were killed by police gunfire.

The protests quickly spread and triggered the demand for azadi (freedom). This was the beginning of a protracted Pakistan-backed insurgency that has continued in the region for over three decades.

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