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AJK Protests: Internet and Cellular Services Disrupted, ARY News Journalist Injured

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AJK Protests: Internet and Cellular Services Disrupted, ARY News Journalist Injured

Protests over high wheat and electricity prices have caused significant disruption in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) since May 11, leading to the suspension of internet and cellular services in various regions. Amid the turmoil, ARY News journalist Sardar Ayaz was injured while covering the events.

Organized by the Awami Joint Action Committee (JAC), the demonstrations demanded lower electricity costs, subsidized flour, and an end to privileges for the elite. The protests drew widespread participation across all ten districts of AJK before the JAC announced their conclusion on May 13.

ARY News Journalist Injured

On May 11, while covering the protests on Eidgah Road in Muzaffarabad, Ayaz sustained a hand injury after being struck by a glass bottle. Ayaz, wearing a bulletproof vest, was mistaken for a police officer by the protesters. According to the TV Journalists Union of Kashmir President Asif Raza Mir, the misunderstanding led to the attack, but some individuals intervened to prevent further harm.

Ayaz received first aid for his injuries and has since recovered.

Internet Services Suspended

In response to the protests, authorities suspended mobile phone and internet services in various areas, including Bhimber, Bagh, and Mirpur, on May 12. This measure aimed to curtail coordination among demonstrators and prevent the spread of unrest.

As of today, internet services have been restored in many parts of AJK, but 4G broadband remains unavailable in cities like Mirpur and Rawalakot.

Ayaz informed the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) on May 14 that internet services remain disrupted in several AJK cities, hindering journalists’ ability to report on the situation. He expressed concern that the communication blackout could exacerbate unrest.